Abstract to be presented at 2014 American Epilepsy Society Meeting

Congrats to the Lugo lab, whose abstract entitled “Neuron subset-specific-PTEN deletion induces abnormal skeletal activity in mice” received a podium presentation at the upcoming 2014 American Epilepsy Society Meeting in Seattle. The abstract reflects a collaborative project with Joaquin Lugo’s lab at Baylor University in which we are working understanding a potential link between cortical brain dysfunction (such that which arises during epilepsy) and impaired skeletal activity.

Marjorie Thompson and Anthony Recidoro to present at 2014 Undergraduate Research Symposium

Congrats to Marjorie and Anthony, who will be presenting their research at the 2014 UW Undergraduate Research Symposium. Marjorie will be giving a talk for her abstract “Brain-specific PTEN deletion induces epilepsy and abnormal bone formation in mice” in Session 2F: Brain Development, Injury, Regeneration and Restoration of Function (242 MGH, 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM). Anthony will be presenting his poster “Neuronal regulation of regenerative bone growth in the zebrafish fin” in Poster Session 4 (Commons East, Easel #48, 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM).

Amanda Roof to give talk at ORS 2014

Congrats to Amanda! Her abstract was selected for a podium presentation at the 60th Annual Meeting of the Orthopaedic Research Society (March 15-18 in New Orleans). Details of her abstract are listed below:

Paper #: 154
Title: Chemical and Mechanical Nerve Impairment Inhibit Joint Specification and Bone Formation in the Regenerating Zebrafish Fin
Authors: Amanda C. Roof, M.D., Anthony Recidoro, Brandon J. Ausk, M.S., Sundar Srinivasan, Ph.D., Ted Gross, Ph.D., Edith M. Gardiner, Ph.D., Steven D. Bain, Ph.D., Christopher Allan, M.D., Ronald Kwon, Ph.D..


Doody Review

Good news, Introduction to Cell Mechanics and Mechanobiology was just rated a 90 (4-star) on Doody’s Publishers’ Club. An excerpt of the review is copied below:

“(The book) offers excellent groundwork in introducing many topics ranging from fluid or solid to statistical or computational mechanics and their importance for cell and tissue behavior…Bridging many disciplines, which at first seem unrelated, opens new perspectives and novel applications for topics conventionally covered in more traditional courses in either the engineering or biology fields.”


The MSBL will have several presentations at the upcoming BMES 2013 Annual Meeting in Seattle from September 25-28, 2013. First, congrats to Anthony Recidoro, who will present his poster “Neuronal Regulation of Fin Regeneration in Zebrafish” on Saturday from 9:30AM to 1:00PM. Also, on Thursday Ron will give a talk for his abstract entitled “The Skeleton As A Complex System: Emergent Bone Loss Signatures Following Neuromuscular Injury In Zebrafish” (“Animal Models in Musculoskeletal Diseases”, 8:00AM to 9:30AM).

Plenary Poster and Oral Session Presentation at 2013 ASBMR Conference

Congrats to Anthony Recidoro for getting his abstract accepted for a combined plenary poster and oral session at the 2013 ASBMR conference in Baltimore! The details of the talk/poster are listed below:

Abstract Title: Neuroskeletal Signaling In The Regenerating Zebrafish Fin: Remote Inhibition of Osteoblast Function via Disruption of Cholinergic Signaling
Oral Session: 10/04/13, 4:15 PM – 5:45 PM, Room 307-310
Poster Session: 10/04/13, 5:45 PM – 7:00 PM, Discovery Hall-Hall C

Plenary Session Talk at 8th European Zebrafish Meeting

We are starting to present some of our zebrafish findings at various conferences and the initial feedback has been great. We were recently awarded two plenary session presentations, one of which was a talk at the 8th European Zebrafish Meeting in Barcelona (the other is a plenary poster and oral session presentation at the upcoming ASBMR Meeting which I will be posting about later). The title of the talk was “Systems-Based Discovery in the Zebrafish Skeleton Using Micro-Computed Tomography”.

It was a fantastic experience going to my first zebrafish meeting. There were so many great talks given, with my personal favorite being an invited lecture by Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner. It was incredibly inspiring to be given a personal account of his discoveries and to hear his vision for the future of biology and genetics.

Joyce was there as well and snapped this picture during the presentation:

Photo: Ron laying it down at the Zfish 2013 conference

Praise for “Introduction to Cell Mechanics and Mechanobiology”

Great news! “Introduction to Cell Mechanics and Mechanobiology”just received a fantastic review by Dr. Guy Genin in the latest edition of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering. An excerpt is copied below (the full review can be seen by clicking here):

“When is a field ready for a new introductory text? One indication is that, despite a wide range of outstanding advanced texts available, many of us find ourselves drawing from a great number of these texts when introducing a subject to graduate students. This is certainly the case for me when teaching graduate students about cell mechanics and mechanobiology. But more telling is the fact that one of the field’s flagship journals has not until now published its first book review. The new text from Jacobs, Huang, and Kwon is fully worthy of the honor of being the first text reviewed in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering. After reading through the clear, simple, but rigorous text, I can say that their work does far more than just tie together some important notes in a single binding. I will argue here that this text is potentially transformative for the field, much in the way that the famous texts by Beer and Johnston in the 1960s were transformative for the undergraduate study of mechanics of materials and machines.”

New Faculty Research Fund Grant

Great news! Ron has been awarded a New Faculty Research Fund Grant from the UW Department of Orthopaedics entitled “Biophysical Control of Bone Regeneration”. We are exploring the role of biophysical stimuli in controlling regenerative processes. The figure on the right shows a zebrafish tail fin prior to (“A”), immediately following (“B”), and 14 days post amputation (“C”). In this project, we seek to assess the ability to use biophysical stimuli to control regeneration in the zebrafish fin.

Rack and Roll

Slowly but surely, we are building up the lab. This weekend, we took a road trip down to Oregon to pick up a used zebrafish housing rack from the Goldfish Garage. The rack is a six shelf stand alone system from Aquaneering. This system makes housing our fish much easier and dramatically increases our capacity, letting us house several thousands of fish.

It was definitely a great time, and worth the trip to see the fascinating collection of exotic fish!

Introduction to Cell Mechanics and Mechanobiology has been published!

I am happy to announce that Introduction to Cell Mechanics and Mechanobiology has been published! This is a project that has been almost five years in the making. The impetus for the book started from a course on cell mechanics that myself, Chris Jacobs, and Ellen Kuhl taught at Stanford University. While teaching the course, we realized that there was a need for a self-contained text that could teach cell mechanics to students of diverse academic backgrounds, both in terms of level (senior undergraduate to graduate students) and disciplines (biology, various disciplines of engineering, physics, etc.).

Our solution was to write a book with the goal of using cell mechanics and mechanobiology as a substrate to teach introductory biology and mechanics. The first half of the book focuses on fundamentals, giving introductions to cell/molecular biology as well as the basic analytical tools of solid mechanics, fluid mechanics, experimental mechanics, and statistical mechanics. The second half focuses on practices, giving examples in which mechanics can be used to analyze cellular structures as well as better understand cell function and behavior.

We hope that it will be a useful resource for those already in the field and will help to attract and train new investigators in this very exciting discipline.


Fluid flow, transport, and bone

Bone adaptation to mechanical loading has long been hypothesized to be mediated by alterations in the flow of skeletal fluid (either blood or interstitial fluid, the plasma-like fluid which leaks out from blood vessels). In general, visualizing skeletal fluid flow in a living organism is difficult, as the bone is mineralized and surrounded by soft tissue. To quantify skeletal fluid flow in mice, we have previously had to rely on a technique which combined confocal microscopy, FRAP (e.g., see this paper and this paper), and computational modeling (e.g., see this paper) to back-calculate flow velocities from FRAP measurements.

A favorable attribute about zebrafish is that measuring skeletal fluid flow (either interstitial fluid or blood) is much easier compared to mice due to their optical transparency. For example, below is a movie we made of an adult zebrafish caudal fin, which is transparent. The rectangular objects are interconnected segments of bony fin rays, and between them you can see the red blood cells traversing through blood vessels running through and around the bones.

Below is the same field of view imaged using epi-fluorescence. In this case, we labeled the bone using a fluorescent dye called calcein, which preferentially binds to calcium ions on the bone surface. The ability to simultaneously visualize blood and interstitial fluid flow and bone growth in zebrafish is extremely powerful and will allow us to gain new insights into the role of skeletal fluid flow in regulating bone health.

Introduction to Cell Mechanics and Mechanobiology on Amazon!

Woo hoo! Our textbook, Introduction to Cell Mechanics and Mechanobiology, is now available for pre-order on amazon.com. This is a project which my co-authors and I have worked on for over four years, and I am extremely excited for it to be introduced to the public (slated for Winter 2012). Anybody interested in learning about the fundamentals of cell mechanics and mechanobiology in a self-contained format may want to give it a look. More details to follow!

Hello world!

Welcome to my research blog! I hope to use it as forum to talk about a wide variety of topics including cool advancements in musculoskeletal, systems, and/or mechanobiology, and other random topics that I think others might find interesting. Thanks for visiting!