My group works at the interface of engineering and biology to understand the links between mechanical forces, biological form, and cell function in health and disease. The intertwining of structural, mechanical, and biochemical processes is inherent to how multicellular organisms organize during development, adapt to physical stresses around them, and devolve during disease. Our goal is to establish a path to investigate, understand, and ultimately control these linked physical-biological processes, to build biomimetic tissues as experimental models, and to direct tissue remodeling and regeneration.
To untangle the many factors that impinge on cell and tissue structure, mechanics, and function, we have pioneered numerous synthetic microenvironments to control the spatial organization, mechanics, composition, or temporal presentation of materials and cells. We combine these tools with molecular cell biological approaches to uncover fundamental mechanisms that regulate cellular adhesions, forces, and function. These insights in turn drive our efforts to build biomimetic 3D culture platforms, control tissue remodeling, and promote regeneration.
At this interface between technology, cell biology, and medicine, our mission is to provide new tools for biomedicine, to gain new insights into the control of cell and tissue function, to train scientific leaders that transcend traditional disciplines, and to demonstrate the boundless opportunities for impacting the future of research, medicine, and education.
Our research program encompasses several overlapping efforts in vascular, cardiac, and stem cell biology and engineering.