BME Seminar: Role of Extracellular Matrices in Tissue Function


Spring 2019 Senior Seminar

Thursday, February 14
12:50 p.m., Wishnick Hall 113

Role of Extracellular Matrices in Tissue Function

Marcella Vaicik, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Professor
Biomedical Engineering Department
Illinois Institute of Technology

Cells interact with a network of proteins in the microenvironment known as the extracellular matrix (ECM). The functional importance of the ECM goes beyond structural support within the tissue. Components of the ECM interact with cells transmitting signals that regulate adhesion, migration, proliferation, apoptosis, or differentiation. In this presentation, we will focus on the ECM first in adipose tissue and secondly in failing heart tissue. We will discuss findings from a transgenic knockout mouse model for laminin alpha 4, a key component of adipose ECM. While important understandings can be derived from animal models, a significant limitation is the ability to translate these findings to clinical applications and ultimately treatment in humans. We will discuss tissue engineering strategies that can be used to move from the mouse model towards therapeutic development.

Vaicik earned her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Illinois Tech. Recently, she was the Society of Women Engineers Conference Advisory Board Chair. Vaicik has eight peer-reviewed publications with three as first author and a United States patent application under review related to her adipose tissue ECM work. She has a M.S. in bioengineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her B.S. in chemical engineering is from Purdue University, with a minor in communication. She worked in industry for three years in various chemical engineering roles before she returned to academia full-time.

This event is free and open to the Illinois Tech community.