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Combining Modeling with Experiments for the Study of Cell Mechanosensing

Understanding how mechanical forces affect cell structure and function is critical to a variety of physiological and pathological phenomena, including cell migration, development, wound healing and cancer metastasis. In this project, we will study the mechanisms underlying the response of cells to mechanical forces, by focusing on LIM-domain proteins. We will use a combination of computational modeling and high-resolution molecular imaging of cells subjected to graded force inputs in order to characterize how LIM-domain proteins localize to and repair the cell cytoskeleton after mechanical deformation. Combination of computer modeling with wet lab experiments will allow our team to find important insights into the mechanisms underlying the response of cells to variations in the mechanical environment. By addressing this complex scientific problem, this research will have significance in both the study of fundamental cell physiology and cancer treatment. We will be meeting the four strategic goals of the University of Utah by: (1) bringing together distinct areas of excellence at the U, scientific computing and cell biology; (2) providing occasions for trainees to conduct cross-disciplinary research; (3) increasing public engagement through software development and publications; (4) establishing the foundation for multiple high-impact research proposals.


College of Engineering
Biomedical Engineering
Project Owner

College of Science
School of Biological Sciences

School of Medicine
Oncological Sciences

College of Science
School of Biological Sciences

Project Info

Funded Project Amount

LIM-domain; cell biophysics; computational modeling; mechanotransduction, cytoskeleton dynamics

Project Status
Funded 2020
Last Updated: 1/23/20