NSF Helps Establish The Center for Engineering Mechanobiology with $24 Mil Grant
The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Pennsylvania a $24 Million, five-year grant to establish a Science and Technology Center focused on engineering mechanobiology, or the way cells exert and are influenced by the physical forces in their environment.
The Center for Engineering Mechanobiology will foster collaborations between Penn researchers and colleagues at the University of Washington at St. Louis, the University of Maryland, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Alabama State University, Bryn Mawr College, and Boston University.
The Penn contingent draws from the Perelman School of Medicine and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. It will be led by co-directors Yale E. Goldman, a professor of Physiology and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics in Penn Medicine and Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics in Penn Engineering, and Vivek Shenoy, a professor with appointments in Engineering’s departments of Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, and Bioengineering.
Mechanical forces play a role in a wide range of biological phenomena in plants and animals, so insights generated by the Center could provide deeper understanding of embryonic development and stem-cell differentiation, cancer metastasis, the dynamic factors that influence gene expression, and many other clinically and agriculturally relevant topics.
These insights will also inform innovations like organs-on-chips that provide ideal testing platforms for human disease and “cyborg” leaf devices that can monitor plants’ natural mechanisms for responding to moisture and other environmental factors and report those conditions to farmers.
More on the Center for Engineering Mechanobiology at news.upenn.edu.