Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology (BMEBT)

First Advisor

Jonathan Celli

Second Advisor

Jill A. Macoska

Third Advisor

Chandra S. Yelleswarapu, Joanna B. Dahl, Imran Rizvi


Particle tracking microrheology (PTMR) methods allow for the non-destructive measurement of viscoelastic properties of soft materials by assessing the mobility of embedded Brownian tracer probes. Using this approach to monitor the mechanical characteristics of in vitro 3D cell culture models can provide a useful perspective into tumor growth, metastasis, and treatment response. Here, I use PTMR methods to measure longitudinal changes in extracellular matrix (ECM) viscoelasticity correlated to 3D model geometry, cancer cell line, therapeutic intervention, and dynamic changes in cell motility. I also describe a derivative method for measuring ECM integrity. Our results demonstrate the effectiveness of PTMR methods in quantifying mechanical changes in the tumor microenvironment at pivotal timepoints, suggesting that PTMR could be a useful tool for evaluating the effectiveness of novel cancer treatments.


Free and open access to this Campus Access Thesis is made available to the UMass Boston community by ScholarWorks at UMass Boston. Those not on campus and those without a UMass Boston campus username and password may gain access to this thesis through resources like Proquest Dissertations & Theses Global ( or through Interlibrary Loan. If you have a UMass Boston campus username and password and would like to download this work from off-campus, click on the "Off-Campus UMass Boston Users