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Mechanobiology of

Neural Development

Abuwarda & Pathak, Current Opinion in Cell Biology (2020)


The long-term goal of our lab is to understand at molecular, cellular and organismal levels, how mechanical forces modulate neural stem cell fate in development and repair. We previously showed that the stretch-activated ion channel Piezo1 mediates mechanosensitive lineage specification of neural stem cells. Our studies revealed that Piezo1 activity in neural stem cells is modulated by matrix mechanics, and that it influences differentiation of the cells into neurons or astrocytes. Current work focuses on understanding (i) how Piezo1 detects and transduces matrix mechanical signals, (ii) how Piezo1 activity elicits gene expression changes, (iii) how Piezo1 may shape neural development, and (iv) how Piezo1 may be involved in certain disease states. We use a multi-disciplinary approach, combining ideas and techniques from ion channel biophysics, cell biology, optical imaging, stem cell biology and bioengineering.



Pathak Lab

2200 Gross Hall
845 Health Sciences Road
Irvine, CA 92697
Tel: (949) 824-7260

Medha Pathak's Office

3026 Gross Hall
845 Health Sciences Road
Irvine, CA 92697
Tel: (949) 824-6623