Huang H, Kamm RD, Lee RT. 2004. Cell mechanics and mechanotransduction: pathways, probes, and physiology. American journal of physiology. Cell physiology. 287(1):C1-11. Pubmed: 15189819


Cells face not only a complex biochemical environment but also a diverse biomechanical environment. How cells respond to variations in mechanical forces is critical in homeostasis and many diseases. The mechanisms by which mechanical forces lead to eventual biochemical and molecular responses remain undefined, and unraveling this mystery will undoubtedly provide new insight into strengthening bone, growing cartilage, improving cardiac contractility, and constructing tissues for artificial organs. In this article we review the physical bases underlying the mechanotransduction process, techniques used to apply controlled mechanical stresses on living cells and tissues to probe mechanotransduction, and some of the important lessons that we are learning from mechanical stimulation of cells with precisely controlled forces.

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Rich Lee seeks to understand heart failure and metabolic diseases that accompany human aging, and translate that understanding into therapies. Lee is an active clinician, regularly treating patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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