Mimicking Morphogenesis for Regeneration

04/01/2019 - 3:00pm
Joel D. Boerckel, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery & Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania
Communicore, C1-17

My laboratory seeks to understand how mechanical cues influence tissue morphogenesis (i.e., development) and repair, so that we can apply these programs to engineer functional tissues. We reason that if one wants to engineer a tissue, one approach is to observe, and then recapitulate, how nature makes that tissue. In this talk, we’ll ask two questions. First, we ask whether mechanotransduction is a one-way street, or whether this information flow is more complex. To address this, we will discuss our recent findings on how mechanical cues induce new gene expression, which in turn feedback to influence how the cell interprets those cues. Second, we’ll explore how this feedback influences bone morphogenesis and ask whether this process can be recapitulated for bone regeneration.


Dr. Boerckel completed his undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering at Grove City College, and received MS and PhD degrees, also in Mechanical Engineering, from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2009 and 2011. Following postdoctoral training in vascular biology at the Cleveland Clinic and a first faculty position at Notre Dame, he was recruited to the University of Pennsylvania in 2017, where he is jointly appointed as Assistant Professor in the departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Bioengineering. Dr. Boerckel currently serves as the Chair of the Awards and Recognition Committee of the Orthopaedic Research Society and is Chair of the Musculoskeletal Thematic Working Interest Group of TERMIS-AM.

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