Research Mission Statement:
The mission of our research group is to apply biophysical engineering principles and techniques to investigate the mechanochemical processes in neurodegenerative diseases, especially Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Specifically, we focus on the roles of mechanical properties (nN to pN scale), molecular packing and molecular organization (~nm) of membranes, cytoskeleton and their components in altered cell functions in AD, including astrogliosis, amyloid precursor protein processing, cerebral endothelial dysfunction, clearance of amyloid beta peptide, and neurogenesis. Various nano-mechanical characterizations, modern fluorescence microscopic and spectroscopic, and photonic techniques, and cell manipulation techniques, including atomic force microscopy, micropipette cell manipulation and aspiration, quantitative fluorescent confocal microscopy, beam splitter, and laser are employed in both basic biomedical and clinical research projects. Ultimately, the information derived from our research will provide insights into the mechanisms underlying the pathology of the disease, early diagnosis, and therapeutic strategies. Our research has been funded by NIH and Alzheimer Association.