Boerckel Laboratory

Devon Mason

Devon Mason

PhD Candidate- Bioengineering

The University of Notre Dame


Fluvanna, Virginia


B.S. Biomedical Engineering, 2014, Virginia Commonwealth University

M.S. Bioengineering, 2018, The University of Notre Dame

Areas of Interest

Cytoskeletal dynamics, cell motility, mechanotransduction, endothelial mechanobiology

Extracellular stimuli in the form of dynamic or static mechanical cues influence cell behavior by physically altering a cell’s cytoskeleton. Cytoskeletal activation directs transcription that alters cell phenotype and function, collectively termed mechanotransduction. However, mechanotransduction does no proceed exclusively from the extracellular matrix (ECM) to the cytoskeleton to the nucleus. In my work I intend to uncover a mechanism by which mechanotransductive transcription tunes the cytoskeleton, to promote endothelial cell migration. My proceeding work will delineate the molecular mediators of mechanotransductive feedback and perturb this pathway by altering ECM rigidity to better understand how mechanotransductive transcription enables cell motility.

Google Scholar


  1. Mason, D. E. et al. Persistent cell motility requires transcriptional feedback of cytoskeletal – focal adhesion equilibrium by YAP/TAZ. bioRxiv 265744 (2018). doi:10.1101/265744
  2. Kegelman, C. D. et al. Skeletal cell YAP and TAZ combinatorially promote bone development. FASEB J. 32, 2706–2721 (2018).
  3. Zhang, Y. et al. Super-resolution fluorescence microscopy by stepwise optical saturation. Biomed. Opt. Express 9, 1613 (2018).
  4. Coughlin, T. R. et al. Bone: A Fertile Soil for Cancer Metastasis. Curr. Drug Targets 18, 1281–1295 (2017).
  5. Hyzy, S. L. et al. Inhibition of angiogenesis impairs bone healing in an in vivo murine rapid resynostosis model. J. Biomed. Mater. Res. Part A 105, 2742–2749 (2017).
  6. Curtis, K. J., Coughlin, T. R., Mason, D. E., Boerckel, J. D. & Niebur, G. L. Bone marrow mechanotransduction in porcine explants alters kinase activation and enhances trabecular bone formation in the absence of osteocyte signaling. Bone 107, 78–87 (2017).
  7. Boerckel, J. D., Mason, D. E., McDermott, A. M. & Alsberg, E. Microcomputed tomography: approaches and applications in bioengineering. Stem Cell Res. Ther. 5, 144 (2014).
  8. McDermott, A. M., Mason, D. E., Lin, A. S. P., Guldberg, R. E. & Boerckel, J. D. Influence of structural load-bearing scaffolds on mechanical load- and BMP-2-mediated bone regeneration. J. Mech. Behav. Biomed. Mater. 62, 169–181 (2016).

Conference Abstracts and Presentations

  1. Mason, D. E., et al. (2016, June). Matrix Stiffness Enhances Vasculogenesis Through Cytoskeletal Activation of YAP and TAZ Mediated Gene Expression. Oral presentation at summer biomechanics, bioengineering, and biotransport conference. National harbor, MD.
  2. Mason, D. E., Voytik-Harbin, S. L., Yoder, M. C., Boerckel, J. D. (2016, November) YAP and TAZ Mediate Mechanical Control of Vasculogenesis. Poster presentation at Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. New Orleans, LA.
  3. Mason, D. E., et al. (2017, June). YAP/TAZ Feedback Control of Cytoskeletal Tension and Adhesion Remodeling is Required for ECFC Motility. Oral presentation at summer biomechanics, bioengineering, and biotransport conference. Tucson, AZ.
  4. Mason, D. E., et al. (2018, July). Persistent Motility Requires Transcriptional Feedback Control of Actomyosin Equilibrium by YAP/TAZ. Oral presentation at World Congress of Biomechanics 2018. Dublin, Ireland.
  5. Mason, D. E., et al. (2018, September). Persistent Motility Requires Transcriptional Feedback Control of Actomyosin Equilibrium by YAP/TAZ. Oral presentation at Center for Engineering Mechanobiology Conference. Philadelphia, PA.


  1. Best poster-Center for Engineering Mechanobiology annual retreat (2018)
  2. ASME-bioengineering division PhD competition finalist (2017, 2018)


Center for Engineering Mechanobiology-trainee (2018)

American Mechanical Engineering Society (2017, 2018)


Devon joined the McKay Orthopaedic Research Laboratory in the summer of 2017 and is currently working toward his graduate degree in Bioengineering for the University of Notre Dame. When he is not busy looking at cells, he spends his time binging TV shows, cooking, eating, and lifting weights (but only in that order).

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