Thomas C. Skalak

Primary Appointment

  • Professor and Chair, Biomedical Engineering


Research Interest(s)

Vascular and Molecular Engineering

Research Description

The microvascular network plays a dominant role in cardiovascular health and disease, performing the mechanical function of oxygen and nutrient delivery and metabolic waste removal. It is also a highly adaptable system, capable of structural remodeling in response to mechanical and biochemical stimuli. The adaptive capability of biological structures provides a unique engineering challenge.

A central research thrust is to understand vascular adaptation to environmental conditions and in vascular diseases, aiming at development of new preventative technologies. Research is focused on arteriolar network remodeling as a function of mechanical stresses, vascular pattern formation, and engineering of wound prevention and repair. Techniques to carry out this work include immunofluorescence visualization of arteriolar remodeling and contractile cell lineage, three-dimensional reconstruction of vascular networks, intravital microscopy measurements of blood flow and pressure, vessel dimensions, and vascular reactivity, gene expression profiling, integrated device design and prototyping for fluid transport in skin flaps and skin ulcer studies, continuum mechanical study of network hemodynamics, and discrete cell-based computer simulation of vascular adaptation. The computational systems biology or "digital biology" modeling is one of the only multicellular systems approaches to this type of tissue assembly problem.

Selected Publications

  • Doyle M, Perley J, Skalak T. Bone marrow-derived progenitor cells augment venous remodeling in a mouse dorsal skinfold chamber model. PloS one. 2012;7(2): e32815. PMID: 22389724 | PMCID: PMC3289672
  • Benedict K, Coffin G, Barrett E, Skalak T. Hemodynamic systems analysis of capillary network remodeling during the progression of type 2 diabetes. Microcirculation (New York, N.Y. : 1994). 2010;18(1): 63-73. PMID: 21166927 | PMCID: NIHMS267683
  • Benedict K, Mac Gabhann F, Amanfu R, Chavali A, Gianchandani E, Glaw L, Oberhardt M, Thorne B, Yang J, Papin J, Peirce S, Saucerman J, Skalak T. Systems analysis of small signaling modules relevant to eight human diseases. Annals of biomedical engineering. 2010;39(2): 621-35. PMID: 21132372 | PMCID: PMC3033523
  • Glaw J, Skalak T, Peirce S. Inhibition of canonical Wnt signaling increases microvascular hemorrhaging and venular remodeling in adult rats. Microcirculation (New York, N.Y. : 1994). 2010;17(5): 348-57. PMID: 20618692 | PMCID: PMC2904644
  • Nickerson M, Song J, Meisner J, Bajikar S, Burke C, Shuptrine C, Owens G, Skalak T, Price R. Bone marrow-derived cell-specific chemokine (C-C motif) receptor-2 expression is required for arteriolar remodeling. Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology. 2009;29(11): 1794-801. PMID: 19734197 | PMCID: PMC2766019