Alisa Clyne, Ph.D.
“Mechanics and metabolism in the cardiovascular system”
In a healthy blood vessel, endothelial cells dynamically integrate biomechanical and biochemical signals from the flowing blood at their apical surface and the basement membrane at their basolateral surface. In metabolic diseases, changes in the biochemical environment may disturb endothelial cell response to mechanical forces, and the mechanical environment may affect biochemical kinetics. Over the past decade, we showed that changes in blood glucose, which are experienced by people with diabetes, disturb endothelial biomechanical response. We are now reversing the research question to investigate how the mechanical environment impacts the way vascular cells metabolize glucose. While endothelial glucose metabolism recently re-emerged as a powerful tool to regulate angiogenesis, the effects of mechanical forces on endothelial metabolism is only beginning to be explored. Our preliminary data show that both steady laminar and oscillating disturbed flow affect endothelial glucose metabolism in distinct ways. This research has translational applications in macrovascular disease such as atherosclerosis and microvascular disease such as cancer.
Alisa Morss Clyne is currently an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, with a courtesy appointment in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems, at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Clyne is director of the Vascular Kinetics Laboratory, which investigates integrated mechanical and biochemical interactions among cells and proteins of the cardiovascular system. She is particularly interested in how endothelial cell mechanotransduction changes in a diseased environment, and how fluid shear stress and substrate mechanics affect biochemical binding kinetics, transport, and signaling.
Dr. Clyne received her bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 1996. She worked as an engineer in the GE Aircraft Engines Technical Leadership Program for four years, concurrently earning her Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. In 2006, she received her Doctorate in Medical and Mechanical Engineering from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. In 2014, she completed the Executive Leadership in Academic Technology and Engineering (ELATE) program.
Dr. Clyne received the NSF CAREER award in 2008, an AHA National Scientist Development Grant in 2010, and the BMES-CMBE Rising Star award in 2011. She has received research and educational funding from NSF, NIH, AHA, Department of Education, the Nanotechnology Institute, and the State of Pennsylvania, and she has published in diverse journals including Lab on a Chip, Journal of Biomechanics, Annals of Biomedical Engineering, Tissue Engineering, Biophysical Journal, PLOSOne, JBC, and Circulation. She is a fellow of ASME and the AHA, and a member of ASEE, BMES, NAVBO, and SWE. Her teaching focuses on mechanical engineering applications in biological systems, and she founded several programs to enhance diversity within engineering.