BME Lecture: Brenda Russell, University of Illinois at Chicago

McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium (MDEA)
Brenda Russell, Ph.D.

Professor Emerita of Physiology and Biophysics
formerly Professor of Bioengineering and Medicine
University of Illinois at Chicago

Abstract: Use it or lose it. Any amateur athlete will tell you that you must exercise to keep your muscles strong. As a physiologist, I am intrigued by the field of mechanobiology that explores the importance of forces in biologic responses of all cells, but I study cardiac muscle cells, fibroblast and various kinds of stem cells. I will discuss the study of the underlying biological process of adaptation to work using dynamic loading or static forces of the microenvironment. These processes for physiologic remodeling are important in healthy exercise and also become maladapted in heart failure. The remodeling involves the actin cytoskeleton, which is highly responsive to mechanics and is regulated by specific modifications of actin-binding proteins triggered by signaling cascades that alter thin filament assembly.

Bio: Brenda Russell is professor emerita of physiology and biophysics, and formerly professor of bioengineering and medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has ongoing NIH funding and an active research group. Russell (formerly Brenda Russell Eisenberg) received her Ph.D. in physiology 1971 under the direction of professor Sir Andrew Huxley (Nobel Laureate), at the University of London, England. She has done research into muscle adaptation at Duke, UCLA, Rush University and UIC, and has served on study sections for NIH and the American Heart Association. She was the recipient of the 2010 Illinois Biotechnology Institute iCON Innovation Award, considered by many to be the region’s most prestigious honor for life sciences educators and researchers. Russell has written reviews, book chapters and well over 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals. Some of her material was incorporated into textbooks – including the widely used Gray’s Anatomy and Berne and Levy’s Physiology.