Research in MAL focuses on nuclear envelope and nucleoskeleton as a dynamic, mechanoresponsive signaling platforms that regulate the biochemical and physical coupling of cell to the outside world.
Mechanically derived structural changes not only modulate the way forces are transmitted within the cells but also over longer term, cells appreciate the mechanical qualities of the environment and then direct their function and lineage selection. In this way, cells maintain a continuous flow of information —both mechanical and biochemical— between nucleus, cytoskeleton and outside environment but current models are still unable to bridge the gap in our understanding of how tissue level factors interact and perceived at the cellular level.
Our research employ the biology, physics and engineering approaches using experimental and computational methods to develop models to identify the function and regulation of mechanosensitive mechanisms in cells with an ultimate goal of uncovering novel clinical applications related to aging, microgravity and other musculoskeletal conditions like osteoporosis, arthritis, muscle wasting syndromes and progeria.
Cell Mechanobiology Research: The ability of stem cells to respond to functional mechanical cues is critical to their ability to replace and reinforce the musculoskeletal tissues . LINC (Linker of Nucleoskeleton and Cytoskeleton) complexes connecting the cytoplasmic cytoskeleton to the nucleus are critical to this function. This projects focuses on how mechanical qualities of the microenvironment controls cellular function.
Microgravity Research: The skeletal fragility that accompanies bone loss due to microgravity is a significant challenge to the success of the space mission. Mechanical signals generated during functional loading promote bone formation at load bearing sites. This project focuses on mechanisms by which mechanical signals preserve the bone differentiation potential of mesenchymal stem cells.