Patrick Alford

Patrick Alford

Patrick Alford

Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Biomedical Engineering


Nils Hasselmo Hall
Room 6-136
312 Church St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455


  • BS, Mechanical Engineering, Bradley University, 2001

  • PhD, Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, 2007

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University, 2008-2010

Research Interests

The Alford Lab focuses on cellular mechano-adaptation in development and disease.

Many cells in tissues are exposed to dynamic mechanical perturbations, which require constant feedback by those cells to maintain their integrity and functionality. Our lab takes a multimodal approach to better understand the processes by which this feedback occurs.

We employ microfabrication and tissue engineering approaches to construct in vitro models that mimic the structure and function of native cells and tissues, but in a highly controlled setting, allowing us to probe the force-feedback behavior of cells.

We also develop theoretical models that, when combined with our experimental work, can be used to tease out the relationship between mechanical force and cellular responses, such as contraction, migration, and protein and gene expression.

We are interested in a wide range of biomechanics problems including aneurysm formation and growth, cerebral vasospasm, morphogenesis, and neurotrauma.

Selected Publications

Win Z, Buksa JM, Luxton GWG, Barocas VH, Alford PW. Cellular Microbiaxial Stretching to Measure a Single-Cell Strain Energy Density Function. J Biomech Eng 2017; 139(7) 071006.

Steucke KE, Win Z, Stemler TR, Walsh EE, Hall JL, Alford PW. Empirically Determined Vascular Smooth Muscle Mechano-Adaptation Law. J Biomech Eng 2017; 139(7) 071005.

Hald ES, Timm CD, Alford PW. Amyloid beta influences vascular smooth muscle contractility and mechano-adaptation. J Biomech Eng. 2016; 138(11): 111007.

Steucke KE, Tracy PV, Hald ES, Hall JW, Alford PW. Vascular smooth muscle function depends on extracellular mechanical properties. J Biomech. 2015; 48 (12) 3044-3051.

Win Z, Vrla GD, Steucke KE, Sevcik EN, Hald ES, Alford PW. Smooth muscle architecture within cell-dense vascular tissue influences functional contractility. Integr Biol. 2014; 6 (12), 1201-1210.

Alford PW, Dabiri BE, Goss JA, Brigham MD, Hemphill MA, Parker KK. Blast-Induced Phenotypic Switching in Cerebral Vasospasm. Proc Nat Acad Sci. 2011; 108 (31) 12705-12710.