Research

Our group’s primary research focus is on understanding biological design. This includes nature’s mechanism for mechanotransduction. In this regard, we are interested in how extracellular matrix and cytoskeletal architecture potentiate and modulate the activation of mechanochemical and mechanoelectrical signaling pathways and genetic programs in cardiac, neural, and vascular smooth muscle cells and tissues. In order to study these mechanisms at different spatial scales, we use cellular and tissue engineering techniques that allow us to build custom-designed tissue constructs as experimental preparations.

Our group also has a growing effort in biologically-inspired design. This includes our work with electroactive polymer actuators, bio-inspired photonic systems, nanotextiles, and cell and tissue self-assembly as a system for rapid-prototyping of nonbiological systems.

Current areas of active research include:

Mechanotransduction – the role of mechanical stress, cell shape, and cell architecture on cell function.

Tissue Engineering – development of tissue grafts and scaffolds with unique structures and functions.

Brain Injury – investigating the mechanisms of traumatic brain injury at a cell and tissue scale.

Nanotextiles – developing new techniques for mimicking ECM networks for regenerative medicine and other industrial applications.

Microdevices – designing and building microscale soft biological constructs which retain their unique biological functionalities.

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What's New

Congratulations Grant Gonzalez and Michael Rosnach on the cover of Macromolecular Materials and Engineering! January 23rd, 2017

Parker Lab Artist Michael Rosnach’s illustration accompanying PhD Student Grant Gonzalez’s paper “Production of synthetic, para-aramid and biopolymer nanofibers by immersion rotary jet-spinning” was chosen for the January 2017 cover of Macromolecular Materials and Engineering.

“Utilizing a precipitant vortex, a novel nanofiber platform produces Kevlar, nylon, DNA, and alginate nanofibers for high-performance composites and tissue engineering applications.”

mame201600365_Cover Art Submission

Congratulations to Ian Perkins & Alex Cho! January 5th, 2017

The DBG would like to congratulate Ian Perkins and Alex Cho who both graduated from Northeastern University in December. Ian received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Alex his B.S. in Biology. We would like to thank you both for your significant contributions to the DBG over the past several years, and we are grateful that you are both continuing with us in the lab this semester!

Congratulations Dr. Capulli! December 15th, 2016

Congratulations to Dr. Andrew Capulli who successfully defended his dissertation in December, and will continue in the DBG as a Postdoctoral Fellow.

Congratulations Dr. Nesmith! December 15th, 2016

Congratulations to Dr. Peyton Nesmith who successfully defended his dissertation last month.  We wish him the best of luck as he returns to the University of Alabama to complete his M.D.

Congratulations to Parker Lab Post-doc Johan Lind, Ph.D., on the publication of his Heart-on-a-Chip paper in Nature Materials on October 24! October 25th, 2016