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Biophysical and Metabolic Regulation of Stem Cells

Symposium — Monday, April 23, 2018 — 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM — Convention Center, Room 25C
Cell and Molecular Physiology Section — Chair: Jalees Rehman — Co-Chair: Jae-Won Shin

The major focus in the field of stem cell biology has been to explore how growth factors emanating from microenvironments regulate specific signaling pathways in stem cells to drive self-renewal and differentiation. However, microenvironments present stem cells with more than biochemical cues. In particular, the importance of mechanics and energetics in growth and formation of biological structures was appreciated more than a century ago. Recent advances in multiple areas of science and engineering, such as nanoscale mechanical characterization technologies, biomaterials, and in situ biosensors, are now allowing researchers to rigorously explore how biophysical and metabolic cues regulate stem cell functions by interfacing with specific structural and molecular components in stem cells. The purpose of the proposed symposium is thus to highlight cutting-edge research in this emerging area. The proposed symposium will consist of 2 established and 3 newer investigators in the field to address a diverse range of topics with equal emphasis between mechanical and metabolic regulation of stem cells across different systems. The symposium will not only provide the Experimental Biology community with concrete examples of innovative research in this field, but also encourage novel directions to explore potential mechanisms that bridge mechanics and metabolism in regulating stem cell functions.


  • Introduction: Key questions in the biophysical and metabolic regulation of stem cells.
    Jae-Won Shin — Pharmacology and Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Chicago

  • Biomechanical regulation of hematopoietic stem cell potential.
    Pamela Wenzel — University of Texas Health Sciences Center

  • Oxygen and mechanics to control vascular differentiation and network assembly.
    Sharon Gerecht — Institute for NanoBioTechnology, Johns Hopkins University

  • Dietary control of stem cells in physiology and disease.
    Ă–mer H. Yilmaz — Koch Institute for Integrated Cancer Research, Mass Instit Tech

  • Wrap-up: Future directions.
    Jalees Rehman — Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Illinois at Chicago


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