Andreea Trache, PH.D.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Texas A&M University
- 1989, B.S., Physics, University of Bucharest, Romania
- 1996, Ph.D., Physics, Institute of Atomic Physics
College Station, TX 77843-1114
Experimental Biophysics, Biomechanics, Microscopy
Our research is directed towards the application of advances in physics/optics to the study of fundamental biological phenomena at the sub-cellular level. We are interested in developing microscopy technologies with unique capabilities that are broadly applicable across various fields of biological research.
The research in Dr. Trache's laboratory focuses on the study of cellular responses to mechano-chemical stresses from a biophysical perspective. Biophysics research represents an applied field of science at the interface of physics, biology, engineering and medicine.
Transmission of force is a classical physical concept applied to the study of live cell dynamics, intracellular protein translocation, and transduction of mechanical signals along intracellular pathways. Mechanical forces are important stimuli and determinants of many cell functions including contraction, proliferation, migration, and cell attachment. Relatively little is known about how cells sense and integrate mechanical forces at the molecular level to induce intracellular signaling. Thus, we are interested to study in real-time the molecular mechanisms responsible for altering the intracellular cytoskeletal force balance and the effect of mechanotransduction to the reorganization of cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion sites. To conduct these studies, we develop new microscopy techniques with unique capabilities that enable real-time study of cell behavior in response to mechanical stimulation. Thus, we aim to gain insights into the fundamental biophysical principles of cellular adaptation to the microenvironment by using non-traditional integrative experimental approaches.
Our lab uses live vascular cells as model system, because endothelial and smooth muscle cells reside 'in vivo' in a mechanically active environment that is continuously changing. Using real-time imaging of live cells is the only way to directly monitor cellular responses to mechano-chemical stimulation. Moreover, single cell imaging experiments allow discrete measurements of transient microscopic events that may be masked by a macroscopic average behavior and will aid in understanding such behavior.