The Biomechanic Materials Lab aims to understand disease state ECM structure and function.
Mammalian cell morphology is a key determinant of function, igniting significant interest in understanding how cell phenotype is regulated by microenvironmental cues. These cues include cell-cell interactions, soluble signaling molecules, and adhesion to the extracellular matrix (ECM) via transmembrane receptors. Yet, the physical properties of the ECM, particularly deformability and remodelability, are known to regulate the ability of a variety of cell behavior. Many of these properties are interconnected and developing material systems to isolate individual properties becomes an important tool; a tool that allows for the investigation of changes ECM materials undergo to better understand disease states and therapeutic opportunities.
Our laboratory will tackle these issues by synthesizing novel polymeric architectures to study prenatal membrane rupture, callus formation, as well as creating the next-generation tools to measure complex nano-scale stress and strain in 3D. Our techniques include super-resolution live-cell imaging, nanoindentation, microrheology, and polymer synthesis.