Mechanosensing Dynamics of Red Blood Cells

Dr. Jiandi Wan Assistant Professor Microsystems Engineering Rochester Institute of Tech

Friday, October 23, 2015
3:30 p.m.

Hopeman 224

Mechanical stress-induced deformation of human red blood cells (RBCs) plays important physiopathological roles in oxygen delivery, blood rheology, transfusion, and malaria. Recent studies demonstrate that, in response to mechanical deformation, RBCs release adenosine-5'-triphosphate (ATP), suggesting the existence of mechanotransductive pathways in RBCs. Most importantly, the released ATP from RBCs regulates vascular tone and impaired release of ATP from RBCs has been linked to diseases such as type II diabetes and cystic fibrosis. To date, however, the mechanisms of mechanotransductive release of ATP from RBCs remain unclear. Given that RBCs experience shear stresses continuously during the circulation cycle and the released ATP plays a central role in vascular physiopathology, understanding the mechanotransductive release of ATP from RBCs will provide not only fundamental insights to the role of RBCs in vascular homeostasis but also novel therapeutic strategies for red cell dysfunction and vascular disease. This talk describes the main research in my group on integrating microfluidic-based approaches to study the mechanosensing dynamics of RBCs. Specifically, I will introduce a microfluidic approach that can probe the dynamics of shear-induced ATP release from RBCs with millisecond resolution and provide quantitative understandings of the mechanosensitive ATP release processes in RBCs. Furthermore, I will also describe our recent findings about the roles of the Piezo1 channel, a newly discovered mechanosensitive cation channel in the mechanotransductive ATP release in RBCs. Last, possible functions of RBCs in the regulation of cerebral blood flow will be discussed.


Jiandi Wan is currently an assistant professor in the Microsystems Engineering program at the Rochester Institute of Technology. His degrees are in Chemistry from Wuhan University (BS, 1998, MS, 2001) and Boston University (PhD, 2006). Dr. Wan worked as a post-doctoral researcher in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University from 2006 to 2009 and moved to Princeton University in 2009 as a Research Associate. Dr. Wan’s research includes microfluidic approaches for the study of cell signaling dynamics, multiphase flows, 3D cell culture and printing,  and functional materials.