Dr. Lauren D. Black III

Mechanical and non-mechanical modes of extracellular matrix signaling in cardiac development and repair


The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a critical component of multicellular life, forming a dynamic molecular network spanning cell, tissue, and organism scales. The classical view of the ECM stresses its “architectural” roles in providing structures with appropriate mechanical and cell-adhesive properties. However, it is now clear that the ECM’s “non-architectural” roles are also integral to proper tissue growth, remodeling, disease and repair. Importantly, these functions are highly dynamic, changing in response to local events and thus serving as a cell-mediated information repository of tissue type, state and function. In this talk, I will cover some of our lab’s work in assessing changes to the ECM in the heart during development, disease and repair and how these changes mediate cell phenotype in these states through both structural, and, more importantly, non-structural mechanisms.