Cells and Viscoelasticity

Lecture by David J. Mooney

Robert P. Pinkas Family Professor of Bioengineering
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Harvard University

Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Lecture at 4:00 PM
1610 Engineering Hall

Reception at 3:30 p.m. Lobby Engineering Hall

There is tremendous interest in the role of substrate stiffness on cell behavior, but most current work ignores that tissues are typically viscoelastic. We have been studying the impact of biomaterial stiffness and stress-relaxation on interacting cancerous and stem cells, and developed materials that allow changes in mechanical properties to be decoupled from changes in hydrogel architecture. To exploit the impact of these properties at the single cell level, a microfluidic-based method for encapsulating single cells in an ~5 micron thick layer of hydrogel has been developed.

David J. Mooney

David J. Mooney is the Pinkas Family Professor of Bioengineering in the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and a Core Faculty Member of the Wyss Institute. His laboratory designs biomaterials to make cell and protein therapies effective and practical approaches to treat disease. His team created the first biomaterial-based, therapeutic cancer vaccine, currently in a clinical trial for melanoma. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine. He has won numerous awards, including the Clemson Award from the SFB, MERIT award from the NIH, Distinguished Scientist Award from the IADR, Phi Beta Kappa Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and the Everett Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award from Harvard College. His inventions have been licensed by twelve companies, leading to commercialized products, and he is active on industrial scientific advisory boards.