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Role of Extracellular Matrices in Tissue Function

Event Date 

February 14, 2019 - 12:50pm to 1:40pm


Wishnick Hall, Room 113
3255 S Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60616


Cells interact with a network of proteins in the microenvironment known as the extracellular matrix (ECM). The functional importance of the ECM goes beyond structural support within the tissue. Components of the ECM interact with cells transmitting signals that regulate adhesion, migration, proliferation, apoptosis, or differentiation.  In this presentation, we will focus on the ECM first in adipose tissue and secondly in failing heart tissue.  We will discuss findings from a transgenic knockout mouse model for laminin alpha 4, a key component of adipose ECM. While important understandings can be derived from animal models, a significant limitation is the ability to translate these findings to clinical applications and ultimately treatment in humans.  We will discuss tissue engineering strategies that can be used to move from the mouse model towards therapeutic development.


Dr. Vaicik earned her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology.  Recently, she was the Conference Advisory Board Chair for the Society of Women Engineers.  Dr. Vaicik has 8 peer reviewed publications with 3 as first author and a US patent application under review related to her adipose tissue ECM work. She has a Master of Science in Bioengineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. And her BS was in chemical engineering from Purdue University with a minor in communication. She worked in industry for 3 years in various chemical engineering roles before she returned to academia full-time. 


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