Project: Crosstalk between cell-matrix and cell-cell signaling in cardiomyocyte mechanosensing
Cardiomyocytes (CM) exist in a complex network to maintain appropriate heart function. Cardiomyocytes are mechanically coupled through cell-cell and cell matrix contacts in order to transduce force and coordinate the overall contraction of the heart. Mechanosensors at these junctions will sense the forces of the neighboring cells, as well as the the stiffness of the extracellular environment. Importantly, recent studies including our own preliminary data suggest that these mechanical signaling pathways are critically intertwined and coordinated at the level of the cytoskeleton. I am combining micro and nanopatterning strategies, as well as with three-dimensional engineered heart tissues with primary or induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocyte models to study the cross-talk in detail.