BME Seminar Series: Dr. Ryan M. Pedrigi
The Role of Altered Biomechanics in Wound Healing-Related Diseases
Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College, London
It is now well recognized that tissue biomechanics is critical in governing the biological processes of resident cells and cells seek to maintain a preferred biomechanical environment. Perturbations to this environment during injury, disease, or clinical intervention may drive cell-mediated adaptations of the host tissue, causing further dysfunction or secondary pathologies. Thus, understanding tissue biomechanics and cellular mechanobiology is critical for understanding the development of many diseases.
In this lecture, I will give examples of studies from my work in the emerging area of ophthalmic biomechanics, where altered biomechanics may underlie the development of two important ocular diseases: ocular hypertension in glaucoma (the second leading cause of blindness world-wide) and lens capsule fibrosis after cataract surgery (the most commonly performed surgery in the aged population). Interestingly, both diseases demonstrate cell behaviors and tissue adaptations characteristic of those observed in a range of wound healing-related diseases (e.g., aneurysms, pulmonary fibrosis, and arthritis), where, for example, an altered biomechanical environment promotes an imbalance between cell-mediated matrix synthesis and degradation. This connection motivates studies in biomechanics and mechanobiology to explore mechanisms of wound healing; therefore, I will close by suggesting research needs in this exciting area. Such studies will enable new avenues of therapy and the development of predictive computational models, ultimately to improve clinical interventions and implantable medical devices.