November 28, 2022
Mechanobiology of fibrotic remodeling
Guy M. Genin, PhD
Co-Director at NSF Science and Technology Center for Engineering MechanoBiology
Professor; Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Department of Neurological Surgery at Washington University in St. Louis
Thousand Talents Plan and Yangtze River Professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University
Mechanical force plays an essential role in shaping the cells, tissues, and organs of plants and animals. During the process of wound healing, extracellular matrix and cells both adapt their structure and function to cover and then contract a wounded space. The choreography of this adaptation involves recursive cues that propagate from extracellular matrix to cell and back, leading cells to transition to a contractile, active phenotype, and leading extracellular matrix to align and contract. This talk will describe work from our group on how wound-healing cells called fibroblasts feel, adapt, and remember the mechanical cues that cause them to transform from an initially inactive state to a contractile, proliferative state called a myofibroblast. Myofibroblasts aid wound healing when triggered appropriately, but lead to significant morbidity when triggered pathologically. This talk will present quantitative engineering tools developed to understand these problems, including tightly integrated theory and experiment. Key results include a role of multiaxial stress states in determining the fate and response of fibroblast when confronted with mechanical loading.