Computational Modelling Group

Seminar  30th November 2012 2 p.m.  University of Southampton 07/3019

Mechanobiology applied to study chronic wounds

Prof. Amit Gefen
Tel Aviv University, Israel

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Abaqus, Biomathematics, Biomechanics, Biomedical, Cellular automata, Complex Systems, Elasticity, Finite elements, Materials, Multi-physics, Multi-scale, Quantitative Biology, Structural biology, Systems biology, Tissue Engineering, Tribology
Georges Limbert

Cells are subjected to mechanical loads as a result of physiological function of the body, including weight-bearing, gravity, inertia or cavity pressures. Mechanical loads within cells and cell organelles influence cellular function and are sometimes crucial for normal cell function. Excessive loading or sub-normal loading however may cause cell damage or cell death; for example critically elevated loads may damage cells instantaneously as in an acute injury, or over time as in chronic wounds. Cells are also dynamic living structures that can move or migrate – by producing mechanical forces and by interacting with their surroundings. The intracellular architecture and mechanical properties of cells and their organelles are important factors affecting these processes, and so is the extracellular environment. The present talk will focus on the experimental and computational bioengineering methods and techniques developed in our lab to obtain data on cellular loads, mechanical properties and mechanical function of cells and organelles, in order to ultimately provide better understanding of how cells actually function and how do they react to their environment and respond to loading, in the context of chronic wound research. Examples will be provided in studying cell deformations under external loading, models of cell motility and mechanotaxis, models of events in a cell's life cycle and differentiation of cells subjected to mechanical stimuli; cellular damage and injury models; and multiphysics problems in cellular biomechanics.

Biography Prof. Amit Gefen received the B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering and M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Tel Aviv University (TAU) in 1994, 1997, and 2001, respectively. During 2002-2003 he was a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. He is presently an Associate Professor with the Dept. of Biomedical Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering of Tel Aviv University. His research interests are in studying normal and pathological effects of biomechanical factors on the structure and function of cells, tissues and organs. On 2007-2008 he was a visiting scientist in Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands, where he developed tissue-engineered model systems to study pressure ulcers. To date, Prof. Gefen published more than 130 articles in peer-reviewed international journals (full list of publications is available in, and he also edited several books. He is now editing a book series on Mechanobiology, Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials published by Springer, and serving at Editorial Boards of several leading international journals, the Journal of Biomechanics, Clinical Biomechanics, Medical Engineering & Physics, Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering and the Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, to mention a few. Recent funding for Prof. Gefen's research has been awarded from the Israel Science Foundation; the Israeli Ministry of Science, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Defence, and by international and national companies. Prof. Gefen is currently the President Elect of the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP,