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Institute of Bioengineering

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Dr Núria Gavara

Honorary Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering and Biomaterials

Department School of Engineering and Materials Science
Telephone +44 (0)20 7882 6596

IoB Highlights

Mechanobiology and cellular biophysics

Key strengths, technologies, know-how

  • Cell biophysics
  • Cell mechanics
  • Cell migration
  • Atomic Force Microscopy
  • Traction force microscopy
  • Cell morphometrics
  • Image processing and quantification


  • Disease diagnostic
  • Real-time tracking of cell behavior
  • Mechanotomograpy (3D mechanical characterization)
  • Cancer and inflammation
  • Hearing research

Selective research achievements

  • Number of papers = 16
  • H-index = 11
  • Main Grants = Marie Curie CIG

Research Interests



Zhang , Flores , Keeling , Sliogeryte and Gavara (2020). Ezrin Phosphorylation at T567 Modulates Cell Migration, Mechanical Properties, and Cytoskeletal Organization. Mdpi Ag  International Journal of Molecular Sciences  vol. 21, (2) 435-435. 10.3390/ijms21020435


Flores LR, Keeling MC, Zhang X, Sliogeryte K and Gavara N (2019). Author Correction: Lifeact-TagGFP2 alters F-actin organization, cellular morphology and biophysical behaviour (Scientific Reports, (2019), 9, 1, (3241), 10.1038/s41598-019-40092-w). Scientific Reports  vol. 9, (1) 10.1038/s41598-019-45276-y

Gavara N and Sliogeryte K (2019). Vimentin plays a crucial role in fibroblast ageing by regulating biophysical properties and cell migration. Mdpi Ag  Cells  10.3390/cells8101164

GAVARA N, Flores L, KEELING M, ZHANG X and SLIOGERYTE K (2019). Lifeact-GFP alters F-actin organization, cellular morphology and biophysical behaviour. Nature Publishing Group  Scientific Reports  10.1038/s41598-019-40092-w


Xu J, Nyga A, Li W, Zhang X, Gavara N, Knight MM and Shelton JC (2018). Cobalt ions stimulate a fibrotic response through matrix remodelling, fibroblast contraction and release of pro-fibrotic signals from macrophages. European Cells and Materials  vol. 36, 142-155. 10.22203/eCM.v036a11

Gonzalez-Molina J, Zhang X, Borghesan M, Mendonça da Silva J, Awan M, Fuller B, Gavara N and Selden C (2018). Extracellular fluid viscosity enhances liver cancer cell mechanosensing and migration. Biomaterials  vol. 177, 113-124. 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2018.05.058


Keeling MC, Flores LR, Dodhy AH, Murray ER and Gavara N (2017). Actomyosin and vimentin cytoskeletal networks regulate nuclear shape, mechanics and chromatin organization. Scientific Reports  vol. 7, (1) 10.1038/s41598-017-05467-x

MATA A, Azevedo HS, Botto L, Gavara N and Su L (2017). New Bioengineering Breakthroughs and Enabling Tools in Regenerative Medicine. Current Stem Cell Reports  10.1007/s40778-017-0081-9

Gavara N (2017). A beginner's guide to atomic force microscopy probing for cell mechanics. Microscopy Research and Technique  vol. 80, (1) 75-84. 10.1002/jemt.22776


Akhtar R, Graham HK, Derby B, Sherratt MJ, Trafford AW, Chadwick RS and Gavara N (2016). Frequency-modulated atomic force microscopy localises viscoelastic remodelling in the ageing sheep aorta. Journal of The Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials  vol. 64, 10-17. 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2016.07.018

Gavara N (2016). Combined strategies for optimal detection of the contact point in AFM force-indentation curves obtained on thin samples and adherent cells. Scientific Reports  vol. 6, 10.1038/srep21267

Sliogeryte K, Thorpe SD, Wang Z, Thompson CL, Gavara N and Knight MM (2016). Differential effects of LifeAct-GFP and actin-GFP on cell mechanics assessed using micropipette aspiration. Elsevier  Journal of Biomechanics  vol. 49, (2) 310-317. 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2015.12.034


Mao X, Gavara N and Song G (2015). Nuclear Mechanics and Stem Cell Differentiation. Stem Cell Reviews and Reports  vol. 11, (6) 804-812. 10.1007/s12015-015-9610-z

Gavara N and Chadwick RS (2015). Relationship between cell stiffness and stress fiber amount, assessed by simultaneous atomic force microscopy and live-cell fluorescence imaging. Biomech Model Mechanobiol  vol. 15, (3) 511-523. 10.1007/s10237-015-0706-9


Szarama KB, Gavara N, Petralia RS, Chadwick RS and Kelley MW (2013). Thyroid hormone increases fibroblast growth factor receptor expression and disrupts cell mechanics in the developing organ of corti. Bmc Dev Biol  vol. 13, 10.1186/1471-213X-13-6


Szarama KB, Stepanyan R, Petralia RS, Gavara N, Frolenkov GI, Kelley MW and Chadwick RS (2012). Fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 regulates microtubule formation and cell surface mechanical properties in the developing organ of Corti. Bioarchitecture  vol. 2, (6) 214-219. 10.4161/bioa.22332

Szarama KB, Gavara N, Petralia RS, Kelley MW and Chadwick RS (2012). Cytoskeletal changes in actin and microtubules underlie the developing surface mechanical properties of sensory and supporting cells in the mouse cochlea. Development (Cambridge)  vol. 139, (12) 2187-2197. 10.1242/dev.073734

Petrie RJ, Gavara N, Chadwick RS and Yamada KM (2012). Nonpolarized signaling reveals two distinct modes of 3D cell migration. Journal of Cell Biology  vol. 197, (3) 439-455. 10.1083/jcb.201201124

Gavara N and Chadwick RS (2012). Determination of the elastic moduli of thin samples and adherent cells using conical atomic force microscope tips. Nature Nanotechnology  vol. 7, (11) 733-736. 10.1038/nnano.2012.163


Gavara N, Manoussaki D and Chadwick RS (2011). Auditory mechanics of the tectorial membrane and the cochlear spiral. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg  vol. 19, (5) 382-387. 10.1097/MOO.0b013e32834a5bc9


Gavara N and Chadwick RS (2010). Noncontact microrheology at acoustic frequencies using frequency-modulated atomic force microscopy. Nature Methods  vol. 7, (8) 650-654. 10.1038/nmeth.1474

Cortijo J, Milara J, Mata M, Donet E, Gavara N, Peel SE, Hall IP and Morcillo EJ (2010). Nickel induces intracellular calcium mobilization and pathophysiological responses in human cultured airway epithelial cells. Chem Biol Interact  vol. 183, (1) 25-33. 10.1016/j.cbi.2009.09.011


Puig F, Gavara N, Sunyer R, Carreras A, Farré R and Navajas D (2009). Stiffening and contraction induced by dexamethasone in alveolar epithelial cells. Experimental Mechanics  vol. 49, (1) 47-55. 10.1007/s11340-007-9072-6

Gavara N and Chadwick RS (2009). Collagen-based mechanical anisotropy of the tectorial membrane: implications for inter-row coupling of outer hair cell bundles. Plos One  vol. 4, (3) 10.1371/journal.pone.0004877


Gavara N, Roca-Cusachs P, Sunyer R, Farré R and Navajas D (2008). Mapping cell-matrix stresses during stretch reveals inelastic reorganization of the cytoskeleton. Biophys J  vol. 95, (1) 464-471. 10.1529/biophysj.107.124180

Abad E, Lorente G, Gavara N, Morales M, Gual A and Gasull X (2008). Activation of store-operated Ca(2+) channels in trabecular meshwork cells. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci  vol. 49, (2) 677-686. 10.1167/iovs.07-1080


Roca-Cusachs P, Almendros I, Sunyer R, Gavara N, Farré R and Navajas D (2006). Rheology of passive and adhesion-activated neutrophils probed by atomic force microscopy. Biophys J  vol. 91, (9) 3508-3518. 10.1529/biophysj.106.088831

Gavara N, Sunyer R, Roca-Cusachs P, Farré R, Rotger M and Navajas D (2006). Thrombin-induced contraction in alveolar epithelial cells probed by traction microscopy. J Appl Physiol (1985)  vol. 101, (2) 512-520. 10.1152/japplphysiol.00185.2006

Trepat X, Puig F, Gavara N, Fredberg JJ, Farre R and Navajas D (2006). Effect of stretch on structural integrity and micromechanics of human alveolar epithelial cell monolayers exposed to thrombin. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol  vol. 290, (6) L1104-L1110. 10.1152/ajplung.00436.2005


Rico F, Roca-Cusachs P, Gavara N, Farré R, Rotger M and Navajas D (2005). Probing mechanical properties of living cells by atomic force microscopy with blunted pyramidal cantilever tips. Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys  vol. 72, (2 Pt 1) 10.1103/PhysRevE.72.021914

Rico F, Roca-Cusachs P, Gavara N, Farré R, Rotger M and Navajas D (2005). Probing mechanical properties of living cells by atomic force microscopy with blunted pyramidal cantilever tips. Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics  vol. 72, (2) 10.1103/PhysRevE.72.021914

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