Collagen structures impart stiffness, strength, and toughness, to a variety of soft tissues including blood vessels, skin, and the sclera. Mechanical stimuli can alter the production and organization of collagen structures through a variety of active cellular mechanisms and passive micromechanisms. Most current models of growth and remodeling rely on phenomenological descriptions at the macroscopic tissue level; however, experimental studies are beginning to elucidate the effect of mechanical stimuli at the cellular and fibril level, making possible descriptions of the micromechanisms of growth and remodeling.
We are developing hierarchical multi-scale, micromechanical models to investigate the fibril-level mechanisms of growth and remodeling that give rise to tissue-level homeostasis. Specifically, we are investigating the effects of stretch-dependent collagen degradation and accumulation, active stress from myofibroblast matrix contraction, and remodeling of the collagen crimp morphology caused by collagen deposition in a natural stretch state.
Current and former postdoc and students