We work at the boundaries between mechanics, cell biology and physiology to better understand the role of mechanics in disease, to repair diseased tissues, and to prevent mechanically-triggered damage to tissues and organs. Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness. We carry out a range of studies to understand and treat this disease. For example, we are developing a new, mechanically-based, strategy to protect fragile neural cells that, if successful, will prevent blindness. We are developing protocols for stem-cell based control of intraocular pressure. We study the mechanobiology and biomechanics of neurons and glial cells in the optic nerve head. We also study VIIP, a major ocular health concern in astronauts. Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of joint pain. We are developing paradigms based on magneto-mechanical stimulation to promote the differentiation and (appropriate) proliferation of mesenchymal stem cells.
C. Ross Ethier
Professor, Georgia Research Alliance Lawrence L. Gellerstedt, Jr. Eminent Scholar in Bioengineering