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:

Espinosa MG, Gardner WS, Bennett L, Sather B, Yanagisawa H, Wagenseil JE. "The effects of elastic fiber protein insufficiency and treatment on the modulus of arterial smooth muscle cells". J Biomech Eng 2013 Dec 1. [Epub ahead of print]. PMCID in progress.

Huang J, Yamashiro Y, Papke CL, Ikeda Y, Lin Y, Patel M, Inagami T, Le VP, Wagenseil JE, Yanagisawa H. “Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE)-induced activation of local angiotensin signaling is crucial for ascending aortic aneurysms in fibulin-4 deficient mice”. Sci Transl Med 2013; 5(183): 183ra58, 1-11. PMCID in progress.

Le VP, Wagenseil JE. "Echocardiographic characterization of postnatal development in mice with reduced arterial elasticity". Cardiovasc Eng Technol 2012 Dec 1;3(4):424-438. PMCID 3640570.

Sather B, Hageman D, Wagenseil JE. “Murray’s law in elastin haploinsufficient (Eln+/-) and wild-type (WT) mice”. J Biomech Eng 2012; 134(12): 124504. PMCID 3644989.

Cheng JK, Stoilov I, Mecham RP, Wagenseil JE. “A fiber-based model predicts changes in amount and organization of matrix proteins with development and disease in the mouse aorta”. Biomech Model Mechanobiol 2013; 12(3): 497-510. PMCID 3661750 (Avail 2014/06/1).

Last Updated: 12/18/2013 10:36:54 AM

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