Abstract by Sam Dailey
Creating a Working Theory for the Biomechanics of Fibroblast Cells in the Extracellular Matrix
Human skin is supported by a network of fibers, predominantly collagen, called the extracellular matrix. We model this as a collagen lattice. Fibroblast cells interact with this lattice and are responsible for the contraction that takes place when skin is wounded.
Our research group has built a model of the lattice by randomly placing nodes in the domain and connecting those nodes with spring. This specific project is focused on creating a theory that explains the biomechanics of the fibroblast cells as they interact with collagen fibers. Former work inside and outside of this group has assumed that the contraction of the lattice can be modeled by pulling collagen nodes toward the center of the fibroblast cells. Our new work explores the possibility of fibroblast cells realigning fibers in the lattice to shorten the spring rest length of the fibers that have bonded together.