Tracking the Structural Deformation of a Sheared Biopolymer Network


Jawerth, L. M. ; Weitz, D. A. Tracking the Structural Deformation of a Sheared Biopolymer Network. In Functional Analysis, Harmonic Analysis, and Image Processing: A Collection of Papers in Honor of Björn Jawerth; 2017; Vol. 693, pp. 255-269. Copy at
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Biopolymer networks provide mechanical integrity in many important environments in vivo ranging from the cytoskeleton within a cell to the structural support of cells themselves in tissues and tendons. Rheolog-ical studies have shown that they exhibit many unique material properties. Modelling these properties requires a precise knowledge of how the individual filaments in the network deform locally during a global deformation. Here, we present an image processing method to track the three-dimensional motion of a biopolymer network as a simple shear deformation is applied. We track the structure of the network from one shear position to the next by determining the displacement of each branch point using a cross-correlation. To illustrate the use of this algorithm, we apply it to a fluorescently labelled fibrin network.

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