Honors Program


Date of this Version

Spring 4-12-2024

Document Type



Freyhof, L. A Novel Acoustic Levitation Device for YAP Transcriptional Mechanotransduction for Mesenchymal Stem Cells. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2024.


To date, a limited number of methods have been developed to simulate microgravity and forces associated with rotational motion in cellular mechanotransduction research. The ultrasonic levitation platform (TinyLev) developed by UpnaLab has potential to simulate microgravity in a levitated fluid droplet as well as move cells along complex pre-defined paths. By creating an inexpensive platform for studying the effects of microgravity and complex path movement on cells, research can be readily conducted to expand the knowledge base required for off planet exploration. To investigate the mechanotransduction research potential of TinyLev, the Lim Lab created a protective stand, screen, electronics case, and an acrylic air shield for TinyLev to enable use inside a biosafety cabinet. After confirming the viability of levitated cells using this setup, the effects of acoustic levitation on nuclear size, Yes Associated Protein (YAP) nuclear translocation, and actin cytoskeletal structure in C3H10T1/2 mouse cells was studied. It was found that both 5 minute and 15 minute levitation treatments caused a significant change in YAP nuclear translocation, though only the 15 minute treatment group showed a significant change in nuclear size. Future studies will be conducted to determine how different treatment times affect YAP nuclear translocation, nuclear size, and actin structure.