Our lab's work focuses on the mechanics of actively adaptive tissues. Many cells and tissues are exposed to dynamic mechanical perturbations, which require constant feedback by those cells to maintain their integrity and functionality. The study of cells' sensing and adaptation to mechanical stimuli is called mechanotransduction. Recent research has shown that mechanotransduction plays a role in a wide range of biological processes, from early embryonic development to neurodegeneration.
Our lab takes a multimodal approach to understanding mechanotransduction and mechanoadaptation, or the ability of cells to adapt their function to changing mechanical conditions, in soft tissues. We employ microfabrication and novel biaxial testing approaches to probe the force-feedback behavior of cells and tissues. Combined with theoretical models, our approaches can be used to tease out the relationship between mechanical force and cellular responses, such as contraction, failure, and protein and gene expression.
We are interested in a wide range of biomechanics problems including aneurysm formation and growth, cerebral vasospasm, and neurotrauma. Our goal is to determine the mechanisms of these mechotransduction-related dysfunctions to help guide future therapeutic strategies.