Metabolic behavior of cells and tissue constructs are directly related to the their capability of recovering after an acute episode or even responding to treatments to chronic conditions. Cellular response to lack of nutrients or its ability to readapt under different extracellular matrix properties will dictate how well a patient recovers and if a given episode will only impact in the short run or might lead to death.
Currently, I am working under supervision of Dr. Megan McCain at the Laboratory for Living Systems Engineering. My project focus on the analysis of the structure and function of mitochondria in engineered tissues as a function of extracellular matrix stiffness and tissue alignment.
The project uses tissue engineering, microscopy, biomaterials and image processing techniques to determine how extracellular matrix regulates the structure and function of mitochondria in cardiac myocytes and cell line derived skeletal muscle fibers. Further research will also evaluate metabolic and genetic responses to different matrix properties and identify possible applications in disease models and treatments.