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Amir Vahabikashi, PhDPostdoctoral Research FellowCell and Developmental Biology DepartmentQuerrey Simpson Institute for BioelectronicsNorthwestern University
Abstract:Cells and tissues in living organisms are continually exposed to mechanical stimuli. There is growing evidence that the interplay between these stimuli and cellular processes, referred to as mechanobiology, plays a significant role in several physiological phenomena including cell function, migration, tissue repair, and regeneration. I will demonstrate that the altered mechanobiology of Schlemm’s Canal endothelium and its underlying substrate is a key factor in the pathology of primary open-angle glaucoma, and that this discovery can be used to develop new therapeutics for this disease. I will also show that selective engagements between the cell nucleus and cytoskeletal systems can regulate cell stiffness and contractile state in a distinctive manner. These interactions, which are mediated by the interplay between the nucleoskeleton and the linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton (LINC) complexes, provide insights into mechanisms for cellular defects observed in laminopathies and many cancers. Lastly, I will exhibit the potential of compliant two and three-dimensional bioelectronic interfaces for organoid and tissue-scale mechanobiology studies and their possible applications in disease investigations and regenerative engineering. My overall research program aims to harness the power of soft bioelectronics and multiscale mechanobiology to understand the mechanisms of human development and disease and to apply this knowledge to develop new therapeutic and regenerative strategies for various diseases.
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