Andrea Malandrino

 Mechanical Plasticity in Extracellular Matrices. Does it matter? 

Abstract: In this talk I will focus on the mechanics and dynamics of extracellular matrix-like materials, such as soft hydrogels, when subjected to cellular forces. In particular, the talk will focus on the cell-dependent remodelling of fibrous biopolymers, such as fibrin and collagen, and the connection to classical mechanical theories, such as viscoplasticity. I will present a range of experimental in vitro systems (microfluidic cultures, microtissues, single cells) and modelling techniques (discrete and continuum) based on high resolution imaging data that we have used to study such aspects. The talk will also extend to non-fibrous matrix-like polymers, such as alginate-gelatine copolymers, relevant as bioinks for tissue engineering, and the colonisation strategies by cells that occur therein and their relationship to matrix plasticity.

Biosketch: Andrea Malandrino is Serra Hunter Tenure-Track associate professor (from 09/2020) at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, at the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), within the Biomaterials, Biomechanics and Tissue Engineering Group. He currently holds a visiting researcher position at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany.

Dr. Malandrino got his MsC in Mechanical Engineering in Bologna (Italy), and his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at UPC Barcelona, and the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC). He was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) jointly with IBEC (2014-2017), and more recently at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL, 2017-2020).

General research interests include tissue and cell biomechanics and mechanobiology, especially focusing on the dynamics of extracellular matrices. Recent works have included vascularized microphysiological 3D platforms (e.g. using microfluidics) for modeling disease aspects, and for investigating biomechanical aspects and patterning in organogenesis. His research combines both experimental and computational/theoretical approaches.