ELCACT/BME Faculty Candidate Seminar: Gabriela Espinosa, Ph.D., UC Irvine

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 - 1:00 p.m. to Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 1:55 p.m.
Zoom (link below)
Gabriela Espinosa, Ph.D.

Discovering the Developmental Blueprint for Pediatric Vascular Tissue Engineering

Abstract: Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are the most common cause of death among newborn patients. Treatments for CHDs, such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome, include the use of synthetic vascular grafts. However, this approach is palliative and requires revision as the patient grows. Tissue engineering represents a promising alternative. While great strides in the development of growing tissue engineered vascular grafts have been made, aberrant remodeling of the extracellular matrix results in stiff, stenotic vessels. A greater understanding of vascular development is necessary to direct growth and remodeling toward the creation of a biomimetic vascular graft for pediatric patients. In this seminar, I will present on the use of chemical signals to modulate perinatal arterial smooth muscle cell phenotype and mechanics. I will then show how changes in blood flow and shear in the early embryonic period impact aortic growth and remodeling. To conclude, I will discuss how specific tools and techniques from cartilage tissue engineering can be effectively applied to vascular graft development and advance the cardiovascular arena.

Bio: Gabriela Espinosa is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the UC Irvine. She earned her Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis and M.S. from Saint Louis University, both in biomedical engineering. Her undergraduate degree is from Yale University in applied physics. As a member of DELTAi (Driving Engineering & Life-science Translational Advances @ Irvine), Espinosa is currently developing novel biomechanical tools and strategies, such as non-contact laser scanning vibrometry and hyperelastic computational modeling, tailored to inform engineering approaches for soft tissues. Her interest in tissue engineering stems from prior work examining multiscale vascular mechanics in embryonic development. Espinosa’s work has been widely published, presented and recognized by organizations such as the North American Vascular Biology Organization and the World Congress of Biomechanics.