"Joining Forces with Biology: A Bioengineering Perspective on Cell Migration"
Konstantinos Konstantopoulos, PhD
Professor & Chair
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Johns Hopkins University
The human body represents an exquisite feat of bioengineering. Physical and biochemical stimuli actively regulate cell responses. Therefore, elucidating the biophysical and molecular nature of physiologically relevant cellular processes requires the integration of engineering and microtechnology fundamental with biophysical models and concepts from biochemistry and molecular cell biology.
Our research in Molecular and Cellular Bioengineering is directed at understanding how mechanical forces regulate cell responses pertinent to cancer metastasis and inflammation using physiologically relevant in vitro and in vivo models. This is accomplished through the synthesis of engineering and microtehcnology principles with quantitative modeling and concepts from biophysics, biochemistry, and molecular cell biology. Some of our key research contributions are the discovery of novel adhesion molecules (i.e., selection ligands) that mediate tumor cell adhesion in the vasculature, the biophysical characterization of these adhesive interactions at the single-molecule level, and the elucidation of novel signaling mechanisms during migration through physically confined micro environments. The ultimate goal of our research program is to develop molecular-targetded therapies to combat cancer and inflammatory disorders using a directed multi-disciplinary approach.