Max Williams Lecture
How do the physical, mechanical and rheological properties of cells influence the onset and progression of human diseases, and vice versa? How do the dimensions of small constrictions for passage of cells in the human body determine their surface to volume ratios and shapes? What new platforms do the latest experimental techniques from engineering, physics and chemistry offer for isolating rare circulating tumor cells, vesicles and exosomes for disease diagnostics, therapeutics, and drug efficacy assays? We discuss these and other related questions as well as some potential clinical applications by recourse to our recent research results at the intersections of engineering, natural sciences, and medicine. The discussion is guided through specific examples from experiments and computation in the context of infectious diseases, hereditary blood disorders, and human cancers.