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Faculty Openings Carnegie Mellon University

The mechanical engineering department at Carnegie Mellon University is now advertising faculty positions. Ranked by US News & World Report as a top 10 graduate engineering program and a Top 25 undergraduate university, Carnegie Mellon might be a good fit for someone that you know.

Nanoscale Intracellular Organization and Functional Architecture Mediating Cellular Behavior

Cells function based on a complex set of interactions that control pathways resulting in ultimate cell fates including proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. The interworkings of his immensely dense network of intracellular molecules are influenced by more than random protein and nucleic acid distribution where their interactions culminate in distinct cellular function.

Cellular and Molecular Mechanics

Cellular and Molecular Mechanics I was invited by Dr. Zhigang Suo to write a short piece on “Cellular and Molecular Mechanics”. I am writing this informally to introduce this subject matter rather than talk in vernacular such as mechanotransduction, phosphorylation, etc. I have more formal papers if someone is interested in more detailed discussions on this subject area. This is a field in which I have been working for over a decade now and I find it more exciting every day. The question always is how does mechanics affect biological processes. This is a very interdisciplinary subject matter as mechanists, engineers, physicists, chemists, and biologists have been investigating this process from various perspectives. I am obviously not the first to study this process. For most of us, it is realized from an empirical perspective that mechanics matters to biology, but exactly how mechanics specifically alters biochemistry continues to be highly debated today. Mechanics of course matters in many physiological areas. Your blood flows, your heart pumps, your bone and muscle feel mechanics. Not only does the body experience mechanical stimulation, but it reacts biochemically to it. A wonderful example is when people go into space (NASA) for long periods of time. The bone in one’s body begins to resorb in a similar response mode to what one experiences in aging (osteoporosis). This is primarily due to just the change in the gravity (mechanics). Other diseases are related to these issues including the two biggest killers: heart disease and cancer. While biomechanics on this scale has been studied for awhile (Leonardo Da Vinci, who was interested in mechanics, also wrote one of the first texts on anatomy), the movement to the cellular and molecular scales has brought a tremendous amount of excitement. I consider the cell as one of the ultimate smart materials exhibiting these characteristics. The cell has evolved over millions of years and is designed better than almost any system that we can personally build. Just as the biological eye provides a beautiful template for optics based lenses, much can be learned about building technology (“nanotechnology” and “microtechnology”) through examining the behavior of cells and molecules.

Symposium on Mechanics in Biology and Medicine

This symposium will be part of the 2007 ASME Applied Mechanics and Materials Conference, to be held in the University of Texas in Austin, in June 3-6, 2007.

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