SEMINAR: The biomechanical environment modulates airway smooth muscle phenotype and function in vitro: implications for studying asthma
|The biomechanical environment modulates airway smooth muscle phenotype and function in vitro: implications for studying asthma : School of Anatomy, Physiology & Human Biology Seminar Series
The Seminar: The cellular and molecular biology of airway smooth muscle (ASM) is typically studied with single-cell cultures grown on solid, thus extremely stiff, 2D substrates. However cells in vivo exist as part of complex 3D structures and experience a much softer mechanical environment. It is well established in other cell types that altering substrate stiffness or growing cells in 3D exerts potent effects on phenotype and function. These factors may be especially relevant to the study of ASM function in asthma, a disease characterized by structural remodeling of the airway wall and a stiffer microenvironment experienced by ASM.
In this seminar, two key research projects will be presented to demonstrate the importance of the mechanical environment on in vitro ASM function: 1) use of a polyacrylamide hydrogel model used to alter substrate stiffness, and 2) the development and characterisation of a physiologically relevant 3D ‘microtissue’ culture model that allows for in vitro contractile force measurement, and shows great promise to simulate the biomechanical changes associated with asthma.
The Speaker: Adrian West’s scientific career was born and raised at the University of Western Australia. He undertook his BSc, Honours and PhD in the Department of Physiology where he studied the molecular mechanisms of intestinal haem iron absorption under Dr Phillip Oates. A lucky opportunity allowed Adrian to switch fields for his first postdoc to work in Prof Howard Mitchell’s respiratory physiology laboratory. During this time, he studied the effects of dynamic mechanical strain on acute regulation of airway smooth muscle (ASM) force and developed an interest in bridging the gap between whole-organ and cell-level mechanical properties.
Realising that engineers get to play with the coolest toys, Adrian moved to Dalhousie University in Canada for his second postdoc to work with an upcoming biomedical engineer, Dr Geoffrey Maksym. In this current position he is using novel cell culture and tissue engineering techniques to study how chronic changes in the biomechanical environment regulate ASM dysfunction, and how this may contribute to the pathogenesis of asthma.
Dr Adrian West, School of Biomedical Engineering, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Cananda
Room 1.81 Anatomy, Physiology & Human Biology building north
: 6488 3313
Tue, 28 Aug 2012 13:00
Tue, 28 Aug 2012 14:00
Debbie Hull <[email protected]>
Fri, 03 Aug 2012 17:14
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