Joel Boerckel, Assistant Professor of the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, was awarded a Collaboration in Translational Research (CTR) grant for a study entitled “Mechanical Regulation of Neovascularization.” The project is a collaboration with Dr. Mervin Yoder at the Indiana University School of Medicine and Sherry Voytik-Harbin, professor of biomedical engineering and basic medical sciences, at Purdue University.
It is known that the formation of new blood vessels is critical for wound healing, recovery from cardiovascular disease, and tissue regeneration. While this process is controlled by the mechanical properties of the extracellular matrix, it can be hijacked by tumors, which can result in blood vessels helping to feed the cancer. Speaking about the research, Boerckel said, “How blood vessel cells sense and respond to these mechanical cues remains poorly understood. This project aims to study the molecular mechanisms that enable blood vessel-forming cells to respond to mechanical stimuli, such as extracellular matrix stiffness. This research will enable development of new tissue engineering strategies and anti-cancer drugs.”