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Keynote Session III  Designing multifactorial microenvironments for regeneration

Rethinking mechanotransduction mechanisms: from the ECM to the cell nucleus

Mechanotransduction processes are central to the recognition of material properties. Despite the recognition that cell contractility regulates the shapes of cells and of their nuclei, and that lamins play a central role connecting cytoplasmic signaling with nuclear events, far too little is known how cytoskeletal forces alter the structural organization of the nuclear lamina, and vice versa, how the nuclear stiffness regulates the cytoskeletal organization and the tension by which stress fibers pull on integrin adhesions. Stress fibers that span the cell nucleus compress the cell nucleus and the compressive forces are higher on rigid than on soft substrates. These compressive forces are counterbalanced by the forces by which these actin stress fibers pull on the surrounding substrate. At the same time, forces are transduced across the nuclear envelope via LINC-complexes that physically connect the cytoskeleton with the nuclear lamina. We will discuss our recent findings how nuclear lamins which play a central role at the intersection between cytoplasmic signaling and nuclear events regulate mechanotransduction processes.

Prof. Dr. Viola Vogel

ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Deputy Head of Dep. of Health Sciences and Technology
Laboratory of Applied Mechanobiology
HCI F 443.2
Vladimir-Prelog-Weg 1-5/10
8093 Zurich, Switzerland




Viola Vogel is a Professor in the Department Health Sciences and Technology (D-HEST), heading the Laboratory of Applied Mechanobiology at the ETH Zurich. After completing her graduate research at the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (Profs. Hans Kuhn and Dietmar Möbius), she received her PhD in Physics at the Johann-Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main, followed by two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California Berkeley, Department of Physics (Prof. Y. Ron Shen) where she applied nonlinear optical techniques to analyze fluid interfaces. She became an Assistant Professor in Bioengineering at the University of Washington/ Seattle in 1991, with an Adjunct appointment in Physics. She launched a new program in Molecular Bioengineering, and was later promoted to Associate (1997) and Full Professor (2002). She was the Founding Director of the Center for Nanotechnology at the University of Washington (1997-2003), and moved to the ETH in 2004.

Her work has been internationally recognized by multiple awards (including Otto Hahn Medal; NIH FIRST Award; Philip Morris Foundation Research Award; Julius Springer Prize 2006 for Applied Physics; ERC Advanced Grant (2008), major lectureships (including the Lacey Lectureship at CalTech (2007), the Timoshenko Lectures at Stanford University (2011), the International Solvay Chair in Chemistry Brussels (2012), an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Tampere Finland (2012), and services for International Organizations (US Representative on the Council of Scientists of the Human Frontier Science Program), as well as jury duties for the European Research Council, the British Marshall Fund, the Humboldt Foundation, the National Research Council (USA); NASA, NIH, NSF, DOE and the German Government (BMBF). She was also a member of the Gordon Research Conferences Selection and Scheduling Committee and of the PCAST subpanel that finalized the National Nanotech Initiative (White House). She currently serves on several scientific advisory boards, including the Wyss Institute at Harvard, the Max-Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces (Golm), the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (Biopolis Singapore), the Nano?Initiative?Munich (DFG Excellence Cluster), CeNIDE Duisburg?Essen, and is a Member of the Hochschulrat (Board of Regents) at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.