I am actively recruiting PhD-level research assistantship that is available beginning in summer 2014.  Students will participate in a federally-funded project on the pathways involved in the mechanotransduction of hydrostatic pressure by mesenchymal stem cells in cartilage tissue engineering.  Stipend support for a five-year PhD degree is expected.

The research objective of this project is to investigate the fundamental mechanisms by which adult stem cells translate hydrostatic pressure into a biological signal that produces cartilage matrix. Hydrostatic pressure is the primary manner that loads are carried in cartilage and has been shown to enhance the matrix production of cartilaginous cells. However, surprisingly little is currently known about how hydrostatic pressure induces these cellular changes. Studies will investigate the roles of calcium signaling, cytoskeletal components, and integrin binding in translating the mechanical signal to a biological one. In particular, how these three elements interact in the translation of hydrostatic pressure will be determined. The research will use pharmacological inhibitors, shRNA and live cell imaging to investigate the mechanobiology of this dominant loading modality.

Successful applicants should demonstrate success in both engineering and biological coursework, as well as the ability to supervise undergraduate and high school interns.  Experience with cell culture is desirable.  Good written and oral presentation skills are required, as is the ability to supervise undergraduate and high school interns.

Application for admission to graduate school at the University of Notre Dame is required to be considered for this position.  More information on this process can be found at http://graduateschool.nd.edu/admissions/ .  Successful applicants will be admitted to the Graduate Bioengineering Program as described at http://www3.nd.edu/~bioeng/ .  Applicants seeking additional information on this particular position can contact Diane Wagner at dwagner @nd.edu .