ChBE Seminar by Marcella Vaicik: Targeting the Extracellular Matrix in Adipose Tissue for Novel Therapy Development

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Perlstein Hall, Room 131

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Armour College of Engineering’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering will welcome Marcella Vaicik, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology, to present a lecture, “Targeting the Extracellular Matrix in Adipose Tissue for Novel Therapy Development.”

Marcella Vaicik

Abstract: Cells interact with a network of proteins in the microenvironment known as the extracellular matrix (ECM). The functional importance of the ECM goes beyond structural support within the tissue. Components of the ECM interact with cells transmitting signals that regulate adhesion, migration, proliferation, apoptosis, or differentiation. In this presentation, the focus will be on the extracellular matrix in adipose tissue. Significant challenges in studying human disease are related to the current use of animal models. While important understanding can often be derived from animal models such as transgenic mice the ability to translate these findings in an animal model to clinically relevant understandings and ultimately treatment in humans is a significant limitation. This lecture will present findings from a transgenic knockout mouse model for laminin alpha 4, a key component of adipose ECM. Engineering strategies to move from the mouse model towards therapeutic development will be discussed.

Short Biography: Marcella Vaicik is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology. Previously, she completed a postdoc at the Department of Veterans Affairs at Hines VA Hospital in Hines, IL. Her Ph.D. is in Biomedical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology. She has a Master of Science in Bioengineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She received her B.S. from Purdue University in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Communication. She worked full-time in the chemical industry in various chemical engineering roles for three years before she returned to academia full-time. Dr. Vaicik is an active member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) serving as a Nomination Committee member for the Society as well as the Faculty Advisor to the Illinois Tech SWE Chapter.

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