Levich Institute Seminar Announcement, 12/08/2009
Tuesday, 12/08/2009
2:00 PM
Steinman Hall, Room #312
(Chemical Engineering Conference Room)

Professor Paul Janmey
University of Pennsylvania
Cell Biology and Physiology Program

"Soft Materials for Neuronal Wound Healing "

[This is a CCNY/Columbia NSF-IGERT Soft Materials seminar]


Many cell types, including those of the central nervous system, respond strongly to changes in matrix rigidity. Neurons, for example, extend and branch neurites more extensively as substrate stiffness is reduced. Compared to tissue culture plastic or stiff gel substrates coated with laminin, on which astrocytes overgrow neurons in mixed cultures, laminin-coated soft gels encourage attachment and growth of neurons while suppressing astrocyte growth. Dissociated embryonic rat cortices grown on flexible fibrin gels, a biomaterial with potential use as an implant material, display a similar mechano-dependent difference in cell population. These data emphasize the potential importance of matrix stiffness as a design feature in the next generation of biomaterials intended to promote neuronal regeneration across a lesion in the CNS while simultaneously minimizing the ingrowth of astrocytes into the lesion area.

  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Ph.D.1982 Physical Chemistry
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Post-doc 1982 Polymer Physics
  • 1982-1984 Research Fellow, Hematology-Oncology Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
  • 1985-1987 Instructor in Medicine, Harvard School of Medicine, Boston, MA
  • 1987-1990 Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard School of Medicine
  • 1990-1999 Associate Professor of Medicine (Biochemistry), Harvard School of Medicine
  • 1991-1999 Biologist, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
  • 1999-present Professor, Department of Physiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
  • 1999-present Adjunct Professor of Physics & Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania
  • 2000-present Secondary Faculty, Dept. of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania
  • 2000-present Member, Pennsylvania Muscle Institute, Philadelphia, PA
  • 2002 Associate Director, Institute for Medicine and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania
  • 2004-present Secondary Faculty, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Pennsylvania


Polymer mechanics, cytoskeleton, responses of cells to mechancial stresses including those produced by altered gravity.