Aranda-Espinoza Wins NSF CAREER Award

Fischell Department of Bioengineering Assistant Professor J. Helim Aranda-Espinoza has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. He received the $400,000 award for his proposal, "Mechanotaxis of Axons and Neurons." The goal of the project is to understand at a fundamental level how neurons migrate and axons elongate as a function of the mechanical properties of the substrate. The knowledge acquired in this research will allow for precise tailoring of the mechanical properties of substrates to direct the growth of axons, which could be used for axon regeneration after trauma in the peripheral and central nervous system.

Aranda-Espinoza leads the Cell Biophysics Laboratory, which applies theoretical and experimental physics and engineering to describe cell mechanics and problems encountered in biological systems. The group studies how cells adhere to, spread, and crawl over various surfaces within the body, using microscopy and other techniques originally developed in and for the field of physics.

The NSF CAREER program supports the career development of outstanding junior faculty who most effectively integrate research and education within the goals and missions of their programs, departments, and schools.

To learn more about Professor Aranda-Espinoza’s research, visit the Cell Biophysics Laboratory website.

To learn more about the NSF CAREER Award, visit:

Published March 2, 2007