Reagents to increase elastic fiber assembly and prevent elastic fiber degradation

Mentor: Jessica Wagenseil, Vice Dean for Faculty Advancement & Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science

Lab description: The Wagenseil Vascular Mechanics Laboratory focuses on the mechanical behavior of large, elastic arteries during development and disease. We are interested in how the arterial wall remodels to maintain appropriate mechanical properties for heart function.

Project: Elastic fibers are critical for elastic recoil in the large arteries during the cardiac cycle. Elastic fiber assembly can be compromised and elastic fiber degradation can be expedited in genetic and acquired vascular disease, compromising arterial function. The student will perform studies to determine whether or not specific reagents can increase elastic fiber assembly and/or prevent elastic fiber degradation. Methods include biochemistry, cell culture, microscopy, and in vitro mechanical testing of mouse aorta.