2015 / 2016 Fred S. Grodins Keynote Lecture
Biomedical Engineering Department

Title: Cell Biomechanics and Disease

Gilda A. Barabino, Ph.D
Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Dean,
The Grove School of Engineering,
The City College of New York

Lecture Information:
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Davidson Continuing Education Center (DCC), Vineyard Room
3:00 – 4:00 pm Lecture
4:00 – 5:30 pm Reception

The connections between cell biomechanics and the onset and progression of human diseases is widely recognized. In the context of sickle cell disease (SCD), this presentation will illustrate the important role of biomechanics in the pathophysiology of disease and how a better understanding of biomechanics can lead to new developments in diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. SCD is a debilitating genetic blood disorder affecting 72,000 Americans and millions globally that induces chronic inflammation and vascular dysfunction and causes multiple organ damage as a result. The pathophysiology of SCD is quite complex and involves altered interactions between blood cells and endothelial cells lining the vessel walls, altered mechanical properties of blood, blood cells and blood vessels, and altered tissue properties in affected organs. Although the molecular defect associated with aberrant sickle hemoglobin is well understood and the polymerization of sickle hemoglobin and sickling of red blood cells has been extensively studied, effective treatment remains elusive. We apply mechanical approaches to elucidate mechanisms underlying disease progression to enable new therapies and provide clinicians with therapeutic opportunities for improved management of individuals with SCD. This work has implications for other diseases that cause changes in the biomechanical properties of cells.