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Richard E. Waugh, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Appointment: (585) 276-3000

Research Labs

Biography

Research

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.

Credentials

Faculty Appointments

Education

1973
BS | University of Notre Dame
Engineering, All Other

1977
PhD | Duke University
Bioengineering

Publications

Journal Articles

4/2017
Vats K, Marsh G, Harding K, Zampetakis I, Waugh RE, Benoit DS. "Nanoscale physicochemical properties of chain- and step-growth polymerized PEG hydrogels affect cell-material interactions." Journal of biomedical materials research. Part A.. 2017 Apr 0; 105(4):1112-1122. Epub 2017 Feb 02.

6/2016
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 0; 15(3):745-58. Epub 2015 Sep 16.

2016
Marsh G, Waugh RE. "A simple approach for bioactive surface calibration using evanescent waves." Journal of microscopy.. 2016 262(3):245-51. Epub 2015 Dec 21.

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