BME Seminar Series: Engineering New Tools to Understand Mucus Function and Dysfunction
April 29 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Gregg Duncan, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor, Fischell Department of Bioengineering, University of Maryland
Mucus is a biological gel that coats and protects epithelial surfaces in tissues throughout the body. Alterations in the viscoelastic properties of the mucus gel is a hallmark of many diseases, particularly of the lung such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, and chronic bronchitis. However, reliable mucus biomarkers to track changes in these properties as a function of disease have yet to be established. In addition, the process by which mucins create this structure and how it may be altered in the context of disease is poorly understood due to the lack of suitable model systems. Towards this end, I will describe in this talk the development of (i) a nanoparticle-based detection scheme to assess disease-associated mucus defects and (ii) a physiologically relevant mucin-based hydrogel platform. Together, these tools may provide the means to fundamentally understand the role of mucus in the progression of diseases and more effectively diagnose patients.