STIFFMAG project is dedicated to the study of fundamental processes of tissue mechanobiology (porosity/stiffness, and plasticity) when loaded with magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) embedded in a fluid (magnetic fluid) with direct relevance to optimal magnetic fluid distribution required for successful Magnetic Fluid Hyperthermia (MFH) therapy.

The current mathematical models designed to predict the technical conditions for an optimal magnetically-controlled delivery of these nanoparticles (such as the magnetic field magnitude) are still limited as they assume the biological tissue as inert material with constant stiffness and density, overlooking the heterogeneity and mechanical properties of the living tissue (e.g. porosity, plasticity). These tissue properties differ from healthy vs cancerous conditions, due to extracellular matrix stiffness variations.

We are proposing to develop an interdisciplinary project based on computational modeling and followed by in vitro experimental validation that allows the study of MNPs distribution/diffusion in relation to the tissue porosity and the initial pressure drop of the magnetic fluid under normal vs pathological (cancerous) conditions. The novel numerical model is planned to consider the biological tissue as a porous medium and to be implemented based on the finite element method. Under the supervision of Prof. Alexandru Stancu, the director will benefit from cutting edge expertise in high performance computing. The computed optimal parameters will help designing the testing set-up in the context of predicting the efficiency of MFH therapy.

The project and its director have several strong points like profound knowledge of cell mechanobiology, access to a world class infrastructure and international network developed during her PhD at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.