Richard E. Waugh, Ph.D.

Richard E. Waugh, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester
500 Joseph C. Wilson Blvd.
Box 270168
Rochester, NY 14611

Research Bio

In our laboratory we study the mechanical properties of cells and the mechanochemistry of cell adhesion. We are particularly interested in learning about the molecular mechanisms underlying the control of cell deformability and cell adhesion, and the role that mechanical forces and membrane stability play in both the formation and separation of adhesive contacts. Our fundamental approach is to perform mechanical measurements on individual cells or cell pairs to measure response of cells to applied forces or the probability of cell adhesion under controlled conditions. Our main focus is the study of cells in the peripheral vasculature.

The deformability of circulating cells and adhesive interactions between cells in the vasculature has relevance to diverse aspects of human physiology ranging from oxygen delivery and hemolytic anemia, to atherosclerosis or immune response and inflammation. Historically, our lab has been one of the leading facilities for investigating red blood cell mechanical properties and the stability of biological membranes. More recently we have begun to examine the physical mechanisms underlying neutrophil adhesion to endothelium, a key event in the body's response to infection or injury. Another area of interest is in the late stage maturation of red blood cells. We have observed changes in the mechanical properties that occur as red cells develop and mature. We are working on developing methods to observe the maturation of red cells in culture so that we can follow the maturation process in the laboratory. By correlating changes in mechanical stability with the appearance and assembly of cytoskeletal proteins we can deduce which molecules and what interactions are important for developing proper mechanical function. Maintaining mechanical stability appears to be critical for the successful completion of red blood cell maturation, as it appears that instabilities in the cell surface lead to loss of cell membrane and cell death if the membranes are not properly supported mechanically as they mature.

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 90 available »

2016 Jun
Svetina S, Kokot G, Kebe TŠ, Žekš B, Waugh RE. "A novel strain energy relationship for red blood cell membrane skeleton based on spectrin stiffness and its application to micropipette deformation." Biomechanics and modeling in mechanobiology. 2016 Jun; 15(3):745-58. Epub 2015 Sep 16.
2016 Jun
Marsh G, Waugh RE. "A simple approach for bioactive surface calibration using evanescent waves." Journal of microscopy. 2016 Jun; 262(3):245-51. Epub 2015 Dec 21.
2015 Dec 22
Hughes AD, Marsh G, Waugh RE, Foster DG, King MR. "Halloysite Nanotube Coatings Suppress Leukocyte Spreading." Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids. 2015 Dec 22; 31(50):13553-60. Epub 2015 Dec 09.
2015 Sep 22
Cinar E, Zhou S, DeCourcey J, Wang Y, Waugh RE, Wan J. "Piezo1 regulates mechanotransductive release of ATP from human RBCs." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2015 Sep 22; 112(38):11783-8. Epub 2015 Sep 08.
2015 Sep
Beste MT, Lomakina EB, Hammer DA, Waugh RE. "Immobilized IL-8 Triggers Phagocytosis and Dynamic Changes in Membrane Microtopology in Human Neutrophils." Annals of biomedical engineering. 2015 Sep; 43(9):2207-19. Epub 2015 Jan 13.

Current Appointments

Professor - Department of Biomedical Engineering (SMD) - Primary
Professor - Department of Pharmacology and Physiology (SMD)


PhD | Bioengineering | Duke University1977
BS | Engineering, All Other | University of Notre Dame1973