Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Candidate Seminar


Soft Tissue Adaptation: Utilizing Experimental and Computational Techniques to Elucidate Collagen Structure-function Relationships


Dr. Kristin Miller


Yale University


Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 11:00:00 AM


MRDC Building, Room 4211


Dr. Andres Garcia


Collagen, elastin, and proteoglycans/glycosaminoglycans are the primary extracellular matrix (ECM) constituents of a variety of soft connective tissues and thereby prescribe mechanical function. Mounting evidence suggests that cells respond to various chemomechanical perturbations through a process of growth and remodeling, via altered gene expression resulting in constituent production or removal, to establish, maintain, and restore a preferred (homeostatic) state of stress. The healthy, maintenance, state of tissue is characterized by the balance of production and removal of constituents. Aging, disease, and wound healing are frequently characterized by increased deposition of collagen (fibrosis), deficiency of collagen accumulation (atrophy), or remodeled tissue with sub-optimal material properties. Therefore, to better understand the role of load-bearing constituents in maladaptive remodeling and guide hypotheses to improve clinical treatment of adult soft tissue injuries, structure-function relationships must be identified during periods of ECM remodeling. Towards this end, my work has utilized experimental and computational approaches to identify the load-bearing contribution of collagen in model systems of ECM remodeling. In this seminar, I will focus in depth on two aspects of my work in ECM remodeling. First, I will present experimental findings elucidating the relationship between the evolving collagen matrix and local mechanical properties throughout murine tendon postnatal development. Next, I will present a first generation computational model for describing the in vivo development of a tissue engineered vein from an implanted polymeric scaffold.


Kristin Miller received her doctoral degree in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania, under the mentorship of Professor Lou Soslowsky, in experimental tendon mechanics. She also received a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Texas A&M University. Kristin is currently a postdoc in Biomedical Engineering at Yale University, under the mentorship of Professor Jay Humphrey, developing computational growth and remodeling models for cardiovascular applications. Her research focuses on collagenous soft tissue mechanics and growth and remodeling, including utilizing experimental and computational methods to better understand, describe, and predict extracellular matrix growth and remodeling.


Refreshments will be served.