Wendy R. Gordon, Ph.D.

Title
Assistant Professor
Department
Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics
Institution
University of Minnesota
Address
321 Church Street SE
6-155 Jackson Hall
City, State, Zip
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Phone
(617) 512-3326
E-mail
wrgordon[at]umn.edu
Website
http://cbs.umn.edu/contacts/wendy-gordon
Research Field
Biochemistry
Award Year
2016

Research

My lab studies how cells sense and respond to mechanical forces in their environment at a molecular level. Inside the body, cells are pushed and pulled, stretched and squashed. This physical deformation helps to guide their adhesion, migration, and even development. Notably, changes in cell or tissue stiffness are a hallmark of diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancer, reflecting drastic alterations in a cell's tensional homeostasis. My lab aims to zoom in to the cell surface to understand how specific receptors sense and respond to cellular forces. Using a DNA-linking fusion tag I recently developed, I am designing new tension sensors to measure the molecular forces experienced by individual proteins in the membranes of cells. This will allow me to identify the proteins that act as force sensors and assess how these proteins and their responses are altered by disease. These findings could lead to novel diagnostics and therapeutics for disorders, such as cancer, that perturb the "mechano-some" of cells and tissues.