Robert Mecham

Alumni Endowed Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology, Professor of Medicine, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Pediatrics

    • 16289 Citations
    1976 …2020

    Research output per year

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    Research interests

    A major goal of our research is to understand the complex process of extracellular matrix (ECM) secretion and assembly, with a particular focus on ECM proteins important to the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems. We are interested in how ECM macromolecules assemble into complex polymers in the extracellular space, and how ECM influences the phenotype of cells, including the role of ECM in initiating differentiation and in maintaining appropriate gene expression in the differentiated phenotype. Our research involves identifying biologically active signals within ECM molecules that act directly on cell function. How ECM binds and modulates growth factor signaling is also a focus of our research.. The laboratory also has had a long-standing interest in lung and vascular development and disease. In the cardiovascular system, we are particularly interested in understanding the development of the vessel wall and the recruitment and differentiation of smooth muscle cells. In the lung, we are interested in how ECM proteins influence lung development and susceptibility to diseases, such as emphysema. Using knockout and transgenic mice, we study how the overexpression or underexpression of key ECM proteins influences the development and function of lung and blood vessels. Gene arrays, in situ hybridization, and proteomic approaches are used to characterize tissue alteration associated with each animal phenotype, and physiological studies (lung and vascular compliance, vascular reactivity, blood pressure, etc.) are used to document altered tissue function. We are also interested in human inherited diseases involving proteins of the elastic fiber, including Williams’s syndrome, cutis laxa, supravalvar aortic stenosis (linked to mutations in the elastin gene), Marfan Syndrome (associated with mutations in fibrillin), and pulmonary and systemic hypertension.

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    Research Output

    Captopril treatment during development alleviates mechanically induced aortic remodeling in newborn elastin knockout mice

    Kim, J., Cocciolone, A. J., Staiculescu, M. C., Mecham, R. P. & Wagenseil, J. E., Feb 1 2020, In : Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology. 19, 1, p. 99-112 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Identification of the growth factor-binding sequence in the extracellular matrix protein MAGP-1

    Broekelmann, T. J., Bodmer, N. K. & Mecham, R. P., Feb 28 2020, In : Journal of Biological Chemistry. 295, 9, p. 2687-2697 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 2 Scopus citations

    Pro-elastogenic effects of mesenchymal stem cell derived smooth muscle cells in a 3D collagenous milieu

    Dahal, S., Swaminathan, G., Carney, S., Broekelmann, T., Mecham, R. & Ramamurthi, A., Mar 15 2020, In : Acta Biomaterialia. 105, p. 180-190 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 1 Scopus citations

    Stem cell derived extracellular vesicles for vascular elastic matrix regenerative repair

    Sajeesh, S., Broekelman, T., Mecham, R. P. & Ramamurthi, A., 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Acta Biomaterialia.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Whole exome sequencing in patients with Williams-Beuren syndrome followed by disease modeling in mice points to four novel pathways that may modify stenosis risk

    Parrish, P. C. R., Liu, D., Knutsen, R. H., Billington, C. J., Mecham, R. P., Fu, Y. P. & Kozel, B. A., Jul 29 2020, In : Human molecular genetics. 29, 12, p. 2035-2050 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access