In many physiological and pathological processes, biomechanical forces provide important signals that regulate the phenotypic expression of cells. Ultimately, these mechanical signals combine with other signals from the cellular microenvironment to impact function at the molecular, cellular, tissue, and organ levels.
Although the field of biomechanics has contributed significantly to our understanding of how mechanical forces regulate tissue function, our understanding at the cellular and molecular level of the integrated response of cells to combinations of mechanical and non-mechanical cues is much more limited. In order to predict and control the behaviour of cells for therapeutic applications, an improved understanding of the integrated mechanobiological responses of cells to their microenvironmental stimuli is required.
Research in our group addresses this fundamental issue, with focus on the cells that participate in the regeneration and pathology of skeletal and cardiovascular tissues. Our specific areas of interest include:
Our approach is highly interdisciplinary, integrating experimental and computational cell mechanics with state-of-the-art quantitative cellular and molecular biology. The interdisciplinary nature of our research is reflected in our affiliations, which include the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, the Faculty of Dentistry, the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, and the Heart & Stroke/Richard Lewar Centre of Excellence.