BIOE Seminar - Dr. Brendon Baker - Deconstructing the Stromal Microenvironment to Understand How Matrix Remodeling Impacts Cell Function

Speaker Dr. Brendon Baker, Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan
Date: 12/4/2019
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: 2310 Everitt Lab
Sponsor: Department of Bioengineering
Event Type: Seminar/Symposium


Understanding how cells probe, interpret, and respond to the extracellular matrix is critical to tissue engineering and disease modeling efforts. While our knowledge of cellular mechanosensing of elastic hydrogel surfaces has recently grown rapidly, less is known about this process in the context of networks of fibrous proteins such as type I collagen that comprise stromal spaces found throughout mammalian tissues. This is due in part to the structural and mechanical complexity of collagenous tissues, and a limited number of experimental platforms offering orthogonal control over matrix characteristics to aid mechanistic studies. In this talk, I will discuss our recent bottom-up efforts to build biomimetic stromal matrices with tunable mechanic properties and user-defined architectures. These fibrous settings elicit cell behaviors distinct from traditional elastic hydrogel substrates owing largely to physical and biochemical remodeling processes driven by constituent cells. Together, these studies highlight both the importance and challenges of studying cell-mediated extracellular matrix remodeling using reductionist models.



Dr. Brendon Baker is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan. His group studies the interplay between physical attributes of the microenvironment and basic cell processes including migration, proliferation, and extracellular matrix synthesis towards programming cell behavior through material cues. He is also interested in how cells alter their microenvironment during disease states, and how the altered microenvironment can in turn feedback to alter cell behavior. His lab uses microfabrication and biomaterials to study the dynamic interactions between the cell and its microenvironment, with the goal of developing better disease models, engineered tissues, and regenerative therapies.

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