Engineering “Smart”er Biomaterials: Exploiting Mechanotransduction for Tissue Fabrication

Date(s) - 04/06/2015
4:00 pm

Nathan Gallant, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of South Florida


Dr. Gallant’s research group is investigating a range of topics related to cellular mechanotransduction and biomaterials development. Toward this goal, we have developed biomaterial engineering strategies, including surface micropatterning, nanofibrous texturing and combinatorial analyses of integrated mechanical and biochemical signals, to manipulate cell-matrix adhesions. Cell adhesion to extracellular matrices is central to development and the organization, maintenance, and repair of tissues by providing anchorage and triggering signals that direct cell survival, migration, cell cycle progression, and expression of differentiated phenotypes. This research talk will focus on recent advances toward biomaterial-directed cell function in two areas. First, we are developing combinatorial biomaterials for high-throughput screening of cell responses to multiple material properties. This approach better simulates the complexity of the cellular microenvironment and enables the identification of synergistic effects of mechanical and chemical stimuli. Second, we are investigating the use of shape-shifting microstructures to form micro-tissue building blocks and manufacture tissues through a novel interfacial strain-based transfer printing technique. The presented results will demonstrate how these approaches are advancing our long-term goal of engineering instructive materials for biointerfaces and tissue fabrication.

Short Bio:

 Nathan Gallant, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of South Florida. Dr. Gallant joined the USF faculty in 2008 following a National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the Biomaterials Group of the Polymers Division. His prior training in Mechanical Engineering was completed at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Gallant’s Cellular Mechanotransduction and Biomaterials Laboratory was established to analyze the mechanical and biochemical interactions between cells and their microenvironment in order to control cell behavior. His lab is currently focused on the study of mechanotransduction at biointerfaces and the development of smart biomaterials. Dr. Gallant is a member of the NCI-Moffitt Physical Sciences in Oncology Center, a Biomedical Engineering Program faculty member, and holds an Interdisciplinary Professor appointment in the USF Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering. He received an NSF CAREER Award in 2011 and the Rising Star Award from the Society for Physical Regulation in Biology and Medicine in 2012.