To combat infectious diseases, it is important to understand how human host cells interact with bacterial pathogens. Signals conveyed from pathogen to host, and vice versa, may be chemical and mechanical. While the chemical and molecular basis of host-pathogen interactions has been extensively explored, relatively less is known about mechanical signals and responses in the context of those interactions. Nevertheless, a wide variety of bacterial pathogens appear to have developed mechanisms to alter the cellular biomechanics of their hosts in order to promote their survival and dissemination, and in turn many host responses to infection rely on mechanical alterations in host cells and tissues to limit the spread of infection.
In this talk Dr. Bastounis will present her team’s recent findings on how mechanical forces generated by host cells can promote or obstruct the dissemination of intracellular bacterial pathogens. In addition, she will discuss how in vivo extracellular mechanical signals influence interactions between host cells and intracellular bacterial pathogens. During the presentation Dr. Bastounis will highlight bioengineering-inspired tools and techniques that can be used to measure host cell mechanics during infection, and the findings that will be presented, underline the importance of interrogating both mechanical and chemical signals while studying host-pathogen interactions and suggest that such approaches can both reveal novel virulence mechanisms and also provide new insight into host cell and tissue mechanobiology.
The lecture is organized by The IEEE Greece Section in cooperation with the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology (EMB) Greece, the Women in Engineering (WiE) Greece and the Biomedical Simulations and Imaging (BioSim) Laboratory of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National Technical University of Athens.