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Mechanobiology in Epithelial
3D Tissue Constructs


AIMS of MEƎT

The graduate school Mechanobiology in Epithelial 3D Tissue Constructs (MEƎT) trains doctoral researchers in the burgeoning fields of mechanobiology and tissue engineering. The doctoral researchers examine how mechanical stimuli regulate tissue morphogenesis and remodeling based on the hypothesis that the micromechanical niche determines cellular responses which in turn modify the cell's mechanical niche. Understanding and controlling this mechanobiological feedback cycle offers novel prospects for steering tissue morphogenesis and remodeling in order to interrupt pathological processes and produce functional tissue Substitutes Cell biology, biophysics and bioengineering must work hand in hand to unravel fundamental mechanobiological mechanisms. MEƎT exploits the unique constellation at RWTH Aachen University by bringing together engineers and life science researchers to provide an ideal basis for meeting this demand. The doctoral researchers leverage this constellation to learn about mechanisms governing tissue mechanics and development, and use this knowledge for developing tissue engineered biological systems. Such complex tissue models are urgently sought by the pharmaceutical industry and academia for drug screening, reduction of animal use and basic research. MEƎT pursues three comprehensive and interlinked topics focusing on epithelia consisting of tightly linked cells at mechanophysical boundaries, which are exposed to tremendous mechanical stress and strain. By developing and using:
epithelial spheroids forces involved in lumen formation, differentiation, extracellular matrix invasion and blastocyst implantation are characterized
-> Project Area A
epidermal equivalents the role of forces in mechanoadaptation, mechanosensing, healing, and genetic diseases are examined
-> Project Area B
pulmonary 3D tissue models the response to mechanical stimulation are studied to unravel pathomechanisms in inflammatory disease and to improve implants
-> Project Area C
tools in mechanobiology of 3D tissues enable novel insights
-> Project Area D
MEƎT's doctoral researchers have a large toolbox at their disposal and supplement it to provide 3D biomaterial-based culture systems with spatially and temporally controlled mechanical properties. The research activities are embedded in a curriculum that is tailored to the interdisciplinary needs of research in mechanobiology. Dedicated mentoring, counseling and personalized training ensure rapid completion of the doctoral projects as a solid foundation for successful future careers as innovative leaders.