Jessica E. Wagenseil, D.Sc.

Associate Professor
Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science

Molecular Cell Biology Program
Developmental, Regenerative and Stem Cell Biology Program
Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology Program

  • 314-935-5052

  • 1185



  • biomechanics, artery, elastin, matrix

  • Cardiovascular mechanics, how the heart and blood vessels respond to mechanical forces

Research Abstract:

My research focus is on cardiovascular mechanics, which is the study of how the heart and blood vessels respond to mechanical forces. Human growth, development, aging and disease alter these mechanical forces and often lead to a negative feedback cycle that exacerbates the loads on the heart and causes cardiac hypertrophy and eventual cardiac failure and death. I specifically focus on diseases that alter the amount of extracellular matrix (ECM) material in the wall of the blood vessels. Altering the amount of ECM proteins affects the wall composition, which changes the mechanical properties and consequently the mechanical loads on the heart and vessels. The major ECM proteins in the large, elastic arteries are collagen and elastin. Elastin provides reversible extensibility during the cardiac cycle, while collagen provides strength at high pressures. I study how changes in elastin amounts and/or organization alter the structure and mechanical function of blood vessels. I have access to mouse models with genetic mutations that alter the amount or organization of elastin in the vessels. I use structural and mechanical data from these mice in mathematical models that predict the effects of varying elastin amounts or organization and interventions such as changing the blood flow or blood pressure.

Selected Publications:

Wagenseil JE. Bio-chemo-mechanics of thoracic aortic aneurysms. Curr Opin Biomed Eng. 2018 Mar;5:50-57. doi: 10.1016/j.cobme.2018.01.002. Epub 2018 Feb 7. PubMed PMID: 29911202; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5999324.

Espinosa MG, Taber LA, Wagenseil JE. Reduced embryonic blood flow impacts extracellular matrix deposition in the maturing aorta. Dev Dyn. 2018 Apr 26. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.24635. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29696727.

Cocciolone AJ, Hawes JZ, Staiculescu MC, Johnson EO, Murshed M, Wagenseil JE. Elastin, arterial mechanics, and cardiovascular disease. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2018 Apr 6. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00087.2018. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29631368.

Knutsen RH, Beeman SC, Broekelmann TJ, Liu D, Tsang KM, Kovacs A, Ye L, Danback JR, Watson A, Wardlaw A, Wagenseil JE, Garbow JR, Shoykhet M, Kozel BA. Minoxidil improves vascular compliance, restores cerebral blood flow, and alters extracellular matrix gene expression in a model of chronic vascular stiffness. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2018 Jul 1;315(1):H18-H32. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00683.2017. Epub 2018 Mar 2. PubMed PMID: 29498532.

Stoka KV, Maedeker JA, Bennett L, Bhayani SA, Gardner WS, Procknow JD, Cocciolone AJ, Walji TA, Craft CS, Wagenseil JE. Effects of Increased Arterial Stiffness on Atherosclerotic Plaque Amounts. J Biomech Eng. 2018 May 1;140(5). doi: 10.1115/1.4039175. PubMed PMID: 29392300.

Gabriela Espinosa M, Catalin Staiculescu M, Kim J, Marin E, Wagenseil JE. Elastic Fibers and Large Artery Mechanics in Animal Models of Development and Disease. J Biomech Eng. 2018 Feb 1;140(2). doi: 10.1115/1.4038704. PubMed PMID: 29222533; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5816253.

Oh YS, Berkowitz DE, Cohen RA, Figueroa CA, Harrison DG, Humphrey JD, Larson DF, Leopold JA, Mecham RP, Ruiz-Opazo N, Santhanam L, Seta F, Shyy JYJ, Sun Z, Tsao PS, Wagenseil JE, Galis ZS. A Special Report on the NHLBI Initiative to Study Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Arterial Stiffness and Its Association With Hypertension. Circ Res. 2017 Nov 10;121(11):1216-1218. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.117.311703. PubMed PMID: 29122942; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5728161.

Wagenseil JE. Does elastin deficiency cause chronic kidney disease? Kidney Int. 2017 Nov;92(5):1036-1038. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2017.05.027. PubMed PMID: 29055422.

Eekhoff JD, Fang F, Kahan LG, Espinosa G, Cocciolone AJ, Wagenseil JE, Mecham RP, Lake SP. Functionally Distinct Tendons From Elastin Haploinsufficient Mice Exhibit Mild Stiffening and Tendon-Specific Structural Alteration. J Biomech Eng. 2017 Nov 1;139(11). doi: 10.1115/1.4037932. PubMed PMID: 28916838.

Kim J, Staiculescu MC, Cocciolone AJ, Yanagisawa H, Mecham RP, Wagenseil JE. Crosslinked elastic fibers are necessary for low energy loss in the ascending aorta. J Biomech. 2017 Aug 16;61:199-207. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2017.07.011. Epub 2017 Jul 25. PubMed PMID: 28778385; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5581218.

Last Updated: 7/25/2018 8:18:14 AM

Mouse carotid artery stained to highlight the elastin (black) and collagen (pink).
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