Metabolic behavior of cells and tissues are directly related to the their capability of recovering after an acute episode or even responding to treatments to chronic conditions. In addition, cellular response to lack of nutrients and cellular ability to re-adapt under different extracellular matrix properties will dictate how well a patient recovers after a heart attack and if a given episode will only impact her in the short-term or potentially lead to death.
In order to understand better those cellular processes, I worked under supervision of Dr. Megan McCain at the Laboratory for Living Systems Engineering. My project focused on the study of mechanical and chemical regulation of mitochondrial function and structure in neonatal rat ventricular myocytes. Using tissue engineering techniques, we elucidated some biochemical and mechanical regulatory aspects of mitochondrial function and structure, in addition to identifying potential responses associated to pathophysiological cardiomyocyte remodeling.