Albert Kobayashi Professorship
Mechanical Engineering; Adjunct in Bioengineering
University of Washington
Cells produce nanoscale forces that add up to make a big impact in our cardiovascular system. It has been difficult to study these forces because previous approaches were not suitable for single-cell studies. In this talk, I will cover our findings on the importance of cellular forces using flexible microposts, nanoposts, and microfluidics. Microposts and nanoposts are soft cantilevers made from polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) that bend in proportion to the forces applied by a cell. We use these systems to study the gripping forces of platelets that are needed for hemostasis, tugging forces between endothelial cells that regulate vascular permeability, and twitch forces of cardiomyocytes that drive blood circulation. This talk will highlight the importance of cellular mechanics to medicine, how cells use mechanics to their advantage, and how engineered systems can be used to better understand and manipulate these processes.
Nathan Sniadecki received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland with Prof. Don DeVoe. He was a NIH NRSA post-doctoral fellow in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and a Hartwell Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in Bioengineering with Prof. Chris Chen. He joined the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Washington in 2007. Prof. Sniadecki is a recipient of the NSF CAREER award in 2009, a DARPA Young Faculty Award in 2011, and Albert Kobayashi Professorship in 2012. His work is on cell mechanics, mechanotransduction, and BioMEMS devices.