Biomedical Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University

Fancy Dishes

Cell & Tissue Engineering

Research in this area encompasses mechanical events of single cells, multicellular systems, and subcellular structures.  Some projects apply engineering approaches to understand mechanical properties of the cell, while other projects reveal mechanical properties critical for applications like tissue engineering. Faculty members interact extensively with those in areas of computation, image processing, modeling, materials, microfabrication, and microfluidics to apply a rich set of research tools.

Cellular Mechano-Sensing and Actuation

Red Blood Cells James Antaki and Kerem Pekkan investigate cellular mechanics of the cardiovascular system, to gain insight into the impact of blood flow on cell shape under normal and disease conditions. They use high speed imaging to study the deformation of red blood cells within the vasculature. Kerem Pekkan in addition has been modeling the deformation of red blood cells under shear near the blood vessel (figure to the right).
Traction Stress Yu-li Wang has been leading the cell mechanics field in studying the input and output of cellular mechanical signals. His group has developed methods for micropatterning hydrogels for detecting the dependence of cellular traction forces on physical and chemical parameters (figure to the left). In addition, the group of Phil LeDuc has been examining how cells respond to applied mechanical forces including shear flow and stretching.
Myotube 2 Myotube 1 The group of Adam Feinberg investigates cardiac and skeletal muscle mechanics, for the purpose of developing engineered cardiac myocytes and tissues. Engineered muscle on micropatterned fabrics of extracellular matrix proteins (figure to the right) shows striking contractile behavior similar to cultured muscles. The products may be used for tissue repair or as in vitro models for pharmacological screening.

Mechanics of Biomolecular Structures

Axonal Transport Research in subcellular mechanics covers structures that are involved in intracellular transport or responses to physical signals.  Yu-li Wang, Phil LeDuc and Kris Dahl study the responses of structures like actin filaments, focal adhesions, and intermediate filaments to mechanical signals. The research of Ge Yang’s group focuses on intracellular motor proteins (figure to the right), combining engineering, computational, cell biological, and biophysical methods to study the transport of cargos in axons. His group is also developing engineering techniques for active control of axonal transport for drug delivery applications.
Nuclear ScaffoldThe group of Kris Dahl is examining multiscale mechanical properties of the cell’s nucleus. Molecular, protein network, and whole cell studies allow a comprehensive understanding of nuclear structure and mechanical properties (figure to the left). These studies encompass aspects of cellular mechanics, gene expression, stem cell differentiation, aging and cancer.
AFM of ECM The group of Adam Feinberg combines fluorescence spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy to study at the single molecular level mechanical properties of extracellular matrix proteins and mechanical force-induced unfolding and activation of matrix proteins.

Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine

Caramel The groups of Phil Campbell and Lee Weiss collaborate to create defined spatial patterns of growth factors on delivery matrices, using inkjet-based biopatterning technology. The designed pattern is then used for directing the fate of stem cells. They have also developed blood plasma-based bioplastics as cost-effective, bioactive materials to enhance tissue healing and/or local drug delivery (figure to the right).
Anti Inflammation Gel The group of Newell Washburn has developed matrices that locally control inflammation. Based on cytokine-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies conjugated to high molecular weight carbohydrates (figure to the left), these materials have been shown to inhibit inflammation-induced necrosis following burns and to facilitate wound repair.

Tissue Scaffold
Based on the assumption that embryonic heart provides an ideal environment for cardiac tissue generation by encoding important information in matrix structures, the group of Adam Feinberg studies the 3-D composition and mechanics of matrix proteins in embryos prior to and during cardiac morphogenesis. The information may then guide the design of artifical scaffolds that provide physical and chemical cues to guide the organization of stem cells into functional myocardium for cardiac tissue repair (figure above).