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.


What's New

2019 MRS Conference Award Winners December 10th, 2019

Congratulations to Dr. Luke MacQueen and Dr. John Zimmerman for the Best Poster and Best Poster Nominee awards at the 2019 MRS in Boston!

Luke MacQueen
John Zimmerman

DBG Alumni Awarded ERC Starting Grant November 12th, 2019

Congratulations to DBG alumni Francesco Pasqualini (University of Pavia, Italy) and Ben Maoz (Tel Aviv University, Israel), and longtime associate Maximilian Emmert (Universität Zürich, Switzerland), for being awarded the prestigious ERC Starting Grant this year!

Farewell Seungkuk! September 5th, 2019

Congratulations to Dr. Seungkuk Ahn, who has accepted a position as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Biophysics Group in ETH Zürich with Professor Daniel J. Müller. Seungkuk joined the Disease Biophysics Group as a graduate student in 2012, and departed for Switzerland this past month. Congratulations Seungkuk!

Thank you to our 2019 summer students! September 5th, 2019

Thank you to the undergraduate students who visited our lab this summer. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

Riley Flores
Rudy Gabardi
James Ikeda
Christina Pizza
Danielle Gamboa
Carlos Marquez

Welcome 2019 Summer Students! June 17th, 2019

The Disease Biophysics Group welcomes our 2019 summer students! From left to right: Rudy Gabardi, Carlos Marquez, James Ikeda, Christina Pizza, Danielle Gamboa, and Riley Flores. Best of luck on your summer research projects!