We develop novel experimental techniques for the characterization of the mechanical response of synthetic and biological materials. The deformation behavior of soft tissues is analyzed at each relevant length-scale and described with appropriate mathematical models. Tissue engineered and synthetic materials are evaluated in terms of their "mechanical biocompatibility".
multiscale biomechanics, biphasic materials, fiber network models, mechanical biocompatibility, mechanobiology
We analyze skin from a biomechanical viewpoint with the aim to characterize changes in its microstructure associated with skin pathologies/alterations. One main focus is towards improved diagnosis and early detection of scleroderma (collaboration with Prof. Distler, USZ). Parameters associated with the elastic as well as dissipative tissue behavior are determined based on in-vivo biomechanical measurements. To this end, novel measurement techniques are developed for quasi-static mechanical assessment. The same approach is also applied to monitor scar maturation after surgery to repair large wounds (collaboration with Prof. Schiestl, KISPI). A novel method for in-vivo skin surface elastography is applied to study the influence of activin on the evolution of ECM properties in healing wounds (collaboration with Prof. Werner, ETH). In collaboration with Prof. Reichmann, KISPI, we develop a new bioreactor for cyclic stretching of the scaffold used for skin tissue engineering. Initial results indicate that mechanical stimulation strongly enhances fibroblast proliferation. With Prof. Werner and Prof. Tibbitt, ETH, we develop an in vitro model system to evaluate the response of dermal cells to chemo-mechanical stimuli. These investigations are informed through simulation of physiological skin deformation and its influence on dermal cell environments based on our multiscale mathematical models of skin.
SKINTEGRITY.CH Principal Investigators are in bold: