Dr. Thomas Barker from the University of Virginia ; “Cells and Their Matrix: A Struggle For Power”.

Dr. Thomas Barker from the University of Virginia ; “Cells and Their Matrix: A Struggle For Power”.

When:
September 17, 2019 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
2019-09-17T14:00:00-07:00
2019-09-17T15:00:00-07:00
Where:
Biomedical Research Centre Rm 351
2222 Health Sciences Mall

Cells and their matrix: a struggle for power
Prof. Thomas H. Barker
Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Cell Biology
University of Virginia, USA

Increasingly, the extracellular matrix (ECM) microenvironment is appreciated as a potent

instructor of cell phenotype. Recent examples that highlight the role of ECM in directing tissue

homeostasis and disease include tumor stroma that instruct metastasis and ECM mechanics that

drive the differentiation of pro-fibrotic myofibroblasts. My lab has focused on the dynamic

reciprocity between mesenchymal stroma cells (fibroblasts), the arbiter of tissue remodeling, and

their extracellular matrix microenvironment. Recent findings from the lab suggest there are far

greater complexities in fibroblast-matrix communication than previously thought. I will present

multiple vignettes from our recent work that shed light on: 1) how elevated matrix stiffness

sensitizes fibroblasts to the critical cytokine TGFb through a novel cytoplasmic Smad regulatory

complex, 2) an integrin adaptor protein, Thy-1, the absence of which classifies a disease relevant

fibroblast subpopulation that is primed to undergo myofibroblastic differentiation in normal ECM

microenvironments, and 3) how posttranslational modifications of the provisional/wound

healing matrix add another level of complexity to cell-matrix homeostasis in the context of

disease.

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