January 2014 Meeting
"Reach out and touch someone: Understanding the role of mechanics in cellular function"
The ability of cells to generate and respond to mechanical cues is an essential aspect of stem cell biology, tissue engineering, and our senses of touch and hearing. However, how exactly cells sense mechanical stimuli remains poorly understood, due largely to a lack of tools that measure molecular-scale forces in living cells and organisms.
In this talk, I will describe our use of genetically encoded, molecular tension sensors that measure the mechanical forces experienced by individual proteins inside living cells. I then discuss the use of this technology to discover how cells sense the mechanical properties of their environment, a process that is critical in stem cell differentiation and tissue growth, but that also contributes to heart disease and cancer metastasis. In addition, I will describe our collaborations with neurophysiologists to uncover the physical basis for our sense of touch, a fascinating scientific question with important practical consequences in the context of the treatment of diabetic neuropathies and aging.
6:30 pm Networking & Refreshments
7:15 pm Presentation
9:00 pm Wrap Up
Free. Light refreshments, soft drinks will be provided.
RSVP is required, seating is guaranteed for the first 35 attendees