Dr. David F. Meaney is the Solomon R. Pollack Professor and Chair Bioengineering (BE). Meaney’s research focuses on understanding the mechanical cues that regulate injury, repair, and growth in cells and tissues of the central nervous system. The process of mechanotransduction is critical in understanding the response of cells and tissues of the central nervous system (CNS) to traumatic injury.
In this research area, experimental work is combined with mathematical modeling to provide a method to quantify the effect of physical forces on cell and tissue function. For example, some of the research combines finite element models of the brain with experimental work to estimate the tissue mechanical stress/strain associated with biological markers of injury. These models provide a starting point to relate traditional measures of stress to the microstructural constituents of the tissue. Structural models are being developed to link global mechanical deformations and the resulting deformation of cellular/subcellular microstructures in the CNS white matter. With the kinematic transformations between the macroscopic deformations and cellular components of the CNS white matter now better established, the research has expanded to determine the mechanism(s) by which a mechanical signal is converted into a biochemical signaling cascade for organotypic tissue, cultured neurons, and cultured axons. Clinical applications of his work include developing new testing standards to improve the safety of headgear and automotive restraint systems, and testing new techniques for repairing damaged tissues in the brain after injury.
Meaney received his PhD in Bioengineering 1991 from the University of Pennsylvania, an MSE in Bioengineering in 1988 from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BS in Biomedical Engineering in 1987 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.