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 to John Ferrier for winning the 2017 LG UltraWide Festival October 18th, 2017

The DBG would like to congratulate one of our lab managers, John Ferrier, on winning the 2017 LG UltraWide Festival which was hosted by Linus Tech Tips and Austin Evans!

DBG Nanofibers Merge with Art by Carla Ciuffo August 23rd, 2017

The Disease Biophysics Group would like to congratulate and thank Tennessee based artist Carla Ciuffo in her efforts to integrate our nanofibers into her art exhibit “Cosmic Garden” at Tinney Contemporary, opening this Saturday.

“Tundra,” 2017, polished acrylic with floating museum back frame, 48×48 on display at Tinney Contemporary. (Photo: Photo courtesy of the gallery)

Thank you to our Summer Students! August 16th, 2017

Thank you to all the undergraduate students who spent time working in the lab over the summer. We wish you all the best this school year!

 

Jenny Wang, United States Military Academy at West Point
Daniel Gray, United States Military Academy at West Point
Nikita Pereverzin, United States Military Academy at West Point
Kathryn Dula, United States Military Academy at West Point
Daniel Drennan, Nicholls State University
Michael Ferris, James Madison University
Karla Rivera, Barry University
John Doyle, University of Massachusetts at Lowell
Madeleine Dahl, Salem State University
Nikita Budnik, McGill University
Karaghen Hudson, Harvard University
Sayo Eweje, Harvard University
Michael Peters, Harvard University
Gabriela Berner, Harvard University

Welcome Dr. Ardoña! August 15th, 2017

The DBG would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Herdeline Ardoña. Herdeline recently completed her Ph.D. in Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University,  where she was a part of Prof. Tovar’s lab.  Welcome, Herdeline!

Welcome Dr. Liu! June 23rd, 2017

The DBG would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Qihan Liu. Qihan completed his Ph.D. in Prof. Zhigang Suo’s lab here at Harvard University, where he focused on the mechanics and physics of soft materials.  Welcome, Qihan!