Welcome to Our Lab!

The overall goal of the Engineered Cellular Microenvironments (ECM) Lab is to understand how intercellular interactions and mechanical stimulation impact cellular phenotypes in carcinogenesis and homeostasis of tissue specific cells, by creating and utilizing specific engineered microenvironments. Our group’s research focuses on various implications of biochemical intercellular interactions (cell-cell or cell-matrix interactions) and mechanical stimuli (via matrix stiffness and applied mechanical forces such as tension, compression and shear stress), in pathophysiology (ovarian and breast cancer carcinogenesis) and homeostasis.

Mechanical forces as well as intercellular interactions play a critical role in the regulation of cellular function (such as growth, differentiation, migration, gene expression, protein synthesis, apoptosis) under normal physiological, as well as, pathophysiological conditions on multiple scales. Defining specific mechanisms by which these biochemical and mechanical cues are sensed by cells and how these stimuli lead to specific cellular responses is likely to help elucidate the intricacies of stem cell function, cancer progression, and to design better materials for cell and tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Our group believes that these goals can be met by creating engineered microenvironments based on novel biomaterials and microfluidic technologies. The novelty of our approach is in the integration of physiologically relevant in vitro tissue engineering based biomaterial platforms with in vivo animal models to gain multiscale molecular-, cellular- and tissue-level understanding of cell-cell or cell-matrix interactions and mechanical stimuli mediated biological events.

Latest News

May 2020 - Prof. Mehta is promoted to the rank of tenured Associate Professor

January 2020 - Taylor Repetto becomes a PhD candidate 

December 2019 - Caymen Novak successfully defends her PhD thesis

Recent Publications

"Tumor modeling maintains diverse pathology in vitro", Ann Transl Med (2019)
"Wettability Engendered Templated Self-Assembly (WETS) for the Fabrication of Biocompatible, Polymer–Polyelectrolyte Janus Particles", ACS Macro Letters (2019)

"Fluid shear stress stimulates breast cancer cells to display invasive and chemoresistant phenotypes while upregulating PLAU in a 3D bioreactor", Biotechnology and Bioengineering (2019)