Welcome to the Ethier Lab
We study the biomechanics and mechanobiology of cells, tissues and organs, with the goal of understanding how cells respond to mechanical stimuli, and how this response in turn affects the function and properties of tissues and organs.
Biologically important mechanical stimuli include the shear stress exerted on endothelial cells, the stiffness of adherent cells’ substrates, and the stretch experienced by resident cells during the deformation of connective tissues. Such stimuli are major determinants of cellular behavior and homeostasis; further, their disturbance can lead to disease.
Our particular research focus areas are glaucoma, a common cause of blindness; the mechanobiology of osteoarthritis; and the relationship between hemodynamics and arterial disease.
About the Header Image
This image synthesizes several aspects of biomechanics. The background shows, from left to right, a clinical photograph of a human optic nerve; Schlemm's canal endothelial cells labelled for nuclei, actin and CD31; and a vascular endothelial cell with its vimentin stained green. Superimposed on this are, from left to right, an image from the classic seventeenth century work on biomechanics by Giovanni Alfonso Borelli; an image by von Meyer of the internal structure of the femur drawn in the nineteenth century; and a drawing from the monumental sixteenth century anatomical treatise by Vesaslius.