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

DBG Lab is Operational! March 15th, 2021

After 17 years of outstanding science in Cambridge, the DBG has moved to the Engineering School’s new campus in Allston. As of March 2, the lab is fully operational and has resumed experiments. Thank you to all alumni and current personnel for constantly raising the bar. Stand by for the next chapter of DBG science!

Congratulations to Dr. Megan McCain! March 10th, 2021

Our congratulations go out to DBG alumna, Dr. Megan McCain, who has recently received tenure at University of Southern California!

Farewell to Dr. Suhwan Kim! January 13th, 2021

Congratulations to Dr. Suhwan Kim, who has accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Dong-A University in Basun, South Korea! Dr. Kim was an integral part of our brain team for over a year as a postdoctoral fellow. We wish him the best on this next step in his career!

Inaugural Issue — Biophysics Reviews! January 4th, 2021

Dr. Kevin Kit Parker launched Biophysics Reviews, a new peer-reviewed journal for the biophysics research community on December 14. Produced by scientific publisher AIP Publishing, the aims to expand “on the tradition of excellence set by Applied Physics Reviews (APR) by publishing high impact, cutting edge research and reviews that are valuable for both emerging and experienced researchers”.

References:
1. KK Parker, L Longobardi, A Sulicz. “Welcome to Biophysics Reviews, a big tent for the biophysics community”. Biophysics Reviews. 14 Dec 2020; 1(1); 010401. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0036408.

A Belated Farewell and Congratulations to Dr. Ardoña! October 14th, 2020

Congratulations to Dr. Herdeline Ardoña, who has accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in the University of California Irvine Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. She joined the Disease Biophysics Group as a postdoctoral fellow in 2017 and was an essential part of our research and mentoring team. Best of luck to you as you settle in and get your research group up and running!