Alan J. Grodzinsky, Sc.D.
Director, Center for Biomedical Engineering
Professor of Biological, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering
Lab web site
Office: NE47-377, 500 Technology Square
Phone: (617) 253-4969
Fax: (617) 258-5239
Administrative Assistant: Linda Bragman
Our group studies problems motivated by diseases of the musculoskeletal system including arthritis, connective tissue pathologies and, more generally, the molecular biology and biophysics of the extracellular matrix. Post-traumatic joint injury causes cartilage degeneration and arthritis, but the mechanisms governing cellular transcription, translation, and post-translational responses to physical overload are not known. Group members use genomic and proteomic tools to identify key intracellular and extracellular pathways associated with tissue injury, inflammation, and degradation. AFM and related biophysical tools are used to image and probe structure and nanomechanical behavior of single extracellular matrix molecules synthesized by connective tissue cells in health and disease. The objective is to discover molecular determinants underlying tissue pathology. Complementary projects focus on chondrogenesis of stem cells seeded into novel self-assembling peptide scaffolds for repair of degraded or osteoarthritic cartilage. The molecular fine structure of stem cell-synthesized extracellular matrix molecules and the anabolic/catabolic responses of these stem cells to physiological loading during and after differentiation are studied in vitro; studies in vivo using small and large animal models are ongoing.