Biomechanics and Mechanobiology

Biomechanics and Mechanobiology

Biomechanics and Mechanobiology involves the study of how physical forces and the mechanical environment interact with living systems in health and disease at multiple scales: molecular, cellular, tissue/organ-level, organism-level.

We now know that cells and tissues are exquisitely sensitive to their mechanical environment and to mechanical stimulation, a fact that is important in many physiological and pathophysiological processes. For these reasons, biomechanics and mechanobiology interface synergistically with many other focus areas. For example, devices implanted in the body must be designed so that they are mechanically “tuned” to tissues they comes in contact with, so as to avoid initiating an undesirable cellular response. Similarly, biomaterials function best when they mechanically match their target environment.

Mechanics is central to human movement and the understanding of motor control. This is relevant in a diverse number of applications, ranging from physical human-robot interactions to injury biomechanics to neurologic movement disorders

At the cellular level, differentiation of stem cells, and migration, apoptosis and division of many cell types depends on their mechanical environment. The growth and function of axons depends on mechanical processes. Aberrant mechanical signaling underlies important diseases such as atherosclerosis, heart failure, osteoarthritis and glaucoma.

At Georgia Tech and Emory, we have built on our outstanding pedigree in this area to create one of the largest and most dynamic biomechanics groups in the world. In addition to using mechanics in designing medical device and engineered tissues, we study, inter alia, the molecular mechanics of cellular adhesion and signaling in the immune system, the hematologic system, and in cancer; the function of the lymphatic system in health and disease; how blood flow interacts with heart valves, and how to design better replacement valves; how mechanics can trigger arterial disease and homeostatic tissue growth; the role of mechanics in the eye, particularly in glaucoma; how altered mechanics play a role in pulmonary disease; and mechanical triggers for cell death in the central nervous system.


Core Competencies

  • Mechanosensing and mechanotransduction of immunoreceptors and vascular adhesion and signaling molecules
  • Molecular mechanisms of cell rigidity sensing
  • Molecular dynamics of plasma membrane mechanothresholds
  • ECM mechanotransduction
  • Material-cellular mechanics
  • Platelet mechanobiology
  • Endothelial mechanobiology
  • Biomechanics of inflammation
  • Mechanobiology of cellular differentiation
  • Mechanochemotransduction in neurons and neural tissue
  • Structural and functional cellular thresholds
  • Movement disorders
  • Neuromechanics and control of movement and rehabilitation
  • Injury biomechanics
  • Sports Biomechanics
  • Physical human-robot interactions
  • Cardiovascular biomechanics and disease
  • Strutctural heart biomechanics
  • Hemodynamics and shear stress biology
  • Biomechanics of hematologic processes and diseases
  • Ocular biomechanics and mechanobiology
  • Orthopedic biomechanics
  • Pulmonary biomechanics
  • Brain and soft tissue biomechanics
  • Biomechanics of tissue-medical device interactions

Map of Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University

BME @ Emory

Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology &
Emory University School of Medicine

313 Ferst Drive, Room 2127 Atlanta, GA 30332
Phone: 404.385.0124 :: Fax: 404.894.4243

387 Technology Circle NW Atlanta, GA 30313
Phone: 404.385.0124 :: Fax: 404.894.4243

BME @ Emory:
1760 Haygood Dr, Ste W 200 Atlanta, GA
Phone: 404.727.9874 :: Fax: 404.727.9873