Dynamic Viscoelasticity as a Rapid Single-Cel Biomarker
Tobias Sawetzki, Sanjay Desai, Charles Eggleton, and David W.M. Marr
Summary: A rapid non-destructive method to identify differences in cell phenotypes using cell
viscoelastic properties
Description: The mechanical properties of living cells are a clear, label-free biophysical marker
of cell health and viability. However, current measurement methods are limited by the low
measurement throughput rates. A fundamental hurdle to increasing the throughput rate is the
cell’s response time to an externally applied force typically over cell compliance times, which
occurs on the order of seconds. To overcome this limitation, the cell viscoelastic properties can
be measured at frequencies far higher than those associated with cell relaxation to identifying
significant differences in cell phenotype. This biomarker, combined with novel optical-force
methods that enable its measurement, establishes dynamic viscoelasticity as a basis for a non-
destructive mechanical analog of current high-throughput cell classification methods (e.g.,
scattering and fluorescence methods).
Main Advantages of this Invention:
 Non-destructive
 High-throughput (4-5 orders of magnitude
greater than current single cell stretching
Potential Areas of Application:
 Biomedical
ID number: # 13021
Intel ectual Property Status: US utility patent
pending (application #14/307,269).
Publication: Sawetzki et al., Biophys. J., 2013,
105, 2281-2288. (Available upon request.)
Opportunity: Seeking an exclusive or non-
exclusive licensee for marketing, manufacturing,
and sale of this technology.
For more information contact:
William Vaughan, Director of Technology Transfer
Colorado School of Mines, 1500 Illinois Street, Guggenheim Hall Suite 314, Golden, CO 80401
Phone: 303-384-2555; e-mail: wvaughan@mines.edu