Dennis E. Discher

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Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Department: Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Contact information
129 Towne Bldg
220 S. 33rd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: (215) 898-4809
Graduate Group Affiliations
UC Davis, 1986.
Ph.D. (Bioengineering)
Berkeley & UC San Francisco, 1993.
Permanent link

Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
- Cell and nuclear membrane structure-function.
- Adhesion mechanisms and responses of cells.
- Phagocyte recognition processes.
- Membrane skeleton and cytoskeleton.
- Diseases ranging from muscular dystrophy to anemias to athersclerosis.
- Drug delivery

Key words: membrane, cytoskeleton, phagocytosis, adhesion, blood cell, muscle differentiation, drug delivery.

Description of Research
Our focus is molecular and cell biophysics, ranging from matrix-guided differentiation of stem cells and muscle to nuclear plasticity.

Rotation Projects
1. Stem cell differentiation guided by matrix
2. Phagocytic Synapse signaling: "Don't Eat Me"
3. Nuclear perturbations and mechanical disease

Lab personnel:
Fariyal Ahmed, NanoTech Inst. Fellow
Nishant Bhasin, PhD Student
Younghoon Kim, PhD Student
Adam Engler, Ashton Fellow
Shamik Sen, PhD Student
Vanessa Ortiz, IGERT Fellow
Shyamsundar Subramanian, Merck Fellow
David Christian, NIH-Training Grant Fellow
Brian Fyfe, PhD Student
David Pajerowski, Ashton Fellow
Kandaswamy Vijayan, PhD Student
Richard Tsai, PhD Student
Andre Brown, NSERC Fellow
Greg Brobst, PhD Student
Dr. Yan Geng, Research Staff
Dr. Colin Johnson, Research Staff
Dr. Manu Tewari, Research Staff

Description of Itmat Expertise

Dr. Discher's research focuses on novel drug delivery systems for Chemotherapeutics, siRNA, and Antisense Oligonucleotides.
His lab also develops polymer matrices that are optimized for cell growth and differentiation.

Selected Publications

A.E.X. Brown, R. Litvinov, D.E. Discher, P. Purohit, J. Weisel. : Multiscale mechanics of fibrin polymer: Gel stretching with protein unfolding and loss of water. Science 325: 741-744, 2009.

R. Tsai and D.E. Discher. : Inhibition of ‘Self’ Engulfment through deactivation of Myosin-II at the Phagocytic Synapse between Human Cells Journal of Cell Biology 180 : 989-1003, 2008.

C.P. Johnson, H-Y. Tang, C. Carag, D.W. Speicher, and D.E. Discher. : Forced unfolding of proteins within cells. Science 317 : 663-666 2007.

A. Engler, S. Sen, H.L. Sweeney, and D.E. Discher. : Matrix elasticity directs stem cell lineage specification. Cell 126: 677-689, 2006.

D.E. Discher*, P. Janmey, Y-L. Wang: Tissue cells feel and respond to the stiffness of their substrate. Science 310: 1139-1143 2005.

K.N. Dahl, S.M. Kahn, K.L. Wilson, and D.E. Discher: The nuclear envelope lamina network has elasticity and a compressibility limit suggestive of a molecular shock absorber. Journal of Cell Science 117: 4779-4786 2004 Notes: With accompanying Editor's Highlight. And Highlight in Nature

A. Engler, M. Sheehan, S. Sen, C. Bonnemann, H.L. Sweeney, and D.E. Discher: Myotubes Differentiate Optimally on Substrates with Tissue-like Stiffness: Pathological Implications of Stiff or Soft Microenvironments. Journal of Cell Biology 166(6): 877-887 2004 Notes: With accompanying Editor's Highlight. And Highlight in Nature.

D.E. Discher* and A. Eisenberg: Polymer Vesicles. Science 297: 967-73, 2002 Notes: (*corresponding author).

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Last updated: 03/18/2013
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