Skalak, Thomas C.
Professor and Chair, Biomedical Engineering
PO Box 800759
Vascular and Molecular Engineering
The microvascular network plays a dominant role in cardiovascular health and disease, performing the mechanical function of oxygen and nutrient delivery and metabolic waste removal. It is also a highly adaptable system, capable of structural remodeling in response to mechanical and biochemical stimuli. The adaptive capability of biological structures provides a unique engineering challenge.
A central research thrust is to understand vascular adaptation to environmental conditions and in vascular diseases, aiming at development of new preventative technologies. Research is focused on arteriolar network remodeling as a function of mechanical stresses, vascular pattern formation, and engineering of wound prevention and repair. Techniques to carry out this work include immunofluorescence visualization of arteriolar remodeling and contractile cell lineage, three-dimensional reconstruction of vascular networks, intravital microscopy measurements of blood flow and pressure, vessel dimensions, and vascular reactivity, gene expression profiling, integrated device design and prototyping for fluid transport in skin flaps and skin ulcer studies, continuum mechanical study of network hemodynamics, and discrete cell-based computer simulation of vascular adaptation.