BME Seminar Series: Dr. Rebecca Hiese, Virginia Commonwealth University
"Pulmonary Cell Mechanotransduction in Aging, Extracellular Matrix, and Injury"
The mechanical environment in the lung plays an important role in health and disease. The constantly moving lung subjects cells to mechanical strain and shear stress during normal breathing. Lung injury, aging extracellular matrix, and obstructive pulmonary diseases alter this mechanical environment, changing the strain, shear stress, and stiffness of the pulmonary extracellular matrix. The present talk will discuss how these mechanical changes alter cellular signaling and function focusing on aging alveolar epithelial cells in ventilator-induced lung injury, and endothelial progenitor cell phenotype in pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Dr. Heise is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). She holds an affiliate appointment in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at VCU and is a member of the Massey Cancer Center and the Johnson Center for Critical Care and Pulmonary Research. She earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering with an additional major in Biomedical and Health Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2003. She then earned her PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008. She then did her Postdoctoral work in the Laboratory of Respiratory Biology at the NIEHS in Research Triangle Park, NC. She joined the faculty of Biomedical Engineering at VCU in 2010.
Dr. Heise’s research focuses on pulmonary mechanobiology and regenerative medicine. She seeks to understand how the mechanical environment in the lung influences cellular behavior in health and disease with in vitro and in vivo models. Dr. Heise also researches the use of naturally-derived extracellular matrix as a biomaterial for cell and drug delivery to the lung. She has been awarded an R01 from the National Institute of Aging to study the effects of ventilator induced lung injury on inflammatory cell signaling, and she has earned a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation to study cell-ECM interactions in pulmonary fibrosis. She has over 20 peer-reviewed publications, 3 book chapters, and over 50 abstracts. She is actively teaching on all levels in the biomedical engineering department and is mentoring 4 graduate students and 6 undergraduate students in her laboratory.