10 June 2016 : Yu Suk Choi

Force of Nature: mimicking mechanoscape to control stem cell fate

Speaker : Dr Yu Suk Choi – University of Western Australia

Venue    : Fri 10 June 2016, 12 noon (Murdoch University, McCusker Conference Center)


Stem cells rely on, and are finely tuned to respond to, their immediate microenvironment, which can be exceedingly complex. Biomaterials must present cells with finely tuned mechanical cues to systematically examine their control over development or pathological insults. Chief among these mechanical cues is extracellular matrix (ECM) stiffness which is perhaps intuitive; functional boundaries between tissues such neuromuscular junctions or phathological boundaries, e.g. the infarcted fibrous heart tissue juxtaposed with healthy myocardium, are prevalent in vivo and imply that mechanical cues not only help guide differentiation/regeneration but may regulate disease mechanisms. In tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, it has become essential to understand and consider the biomechanics in cell-ECM interaction to better design biomaterials and to regenerate cells and/or tissues. In this talk, I will introduce how stiffness affects stem cells via mechanotransduction and the state-of-the-art materials technologies (atomic force microscopy, traction force microscopy, and smart material fabrication) used to mimic stiffness of the microenvironment.

Dr. Choi is a lecturer in the School of Anatomy Physiology and Human Biology at the University of Western Australia. His research focus is on stem cell – extracellular matrix mechanical interaction using multi-disciplinary approaches based on previous training in various fields including PhD in stem cell/tissue engineering (University of Melbourne 2006-2010), Postdoc in Bioengineering (UCSD 2010-2013), and Research Fellow in Cardiology (University of Sydney, 2013-2015). Yu have 20 research publications in top Journals including Nature Materials and Advanced Functional Materials. He has attracted 8 research grants totaling over $1.3 million including NHMRC Project Grant (CIA) since 2012.