Manipulating blood clotting with force
Assistant Professor, Division of Hematology
Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine
May 17, 2018
Foege N130A, Wallace H. Coulter Seminar Room
Our vascular system is constantly subjected to forces generated by blood flow. To prevent hemorrhage at injury sites, our body needs to sense the injuries and initiate blood clotting to stop bleeding. von Willebrand factor (VWF) is an important mechanosensory molecule, which constantly scans our bodies for injuries and plays a critical role in platelet adhesion and aggregation during blood clotting. By combining single-molecule fluorescence imaging and microfluidics system, we simultaneously monitored how the hydrodynamic forces regulate the inter- and intro-molecular interactions in single VWF molecules and their binding to platelets. Live imaging in this system reveals a novel mechanism that enables VWF to be locally activated by hydrodynamic force in hemorrhage and rapidly deactivated downstream, with implications for therapy development in bleeding disorders and thrombosis.
Hongxia Fu obtained her Ph.D. at the National University of Singapore, where she studied DNA biomechanics using single-molecule force manipulation tools and theoretical models. She continued her postdoctoral research training in biophysics and mechanobiology at the National University of Singapore and Harvard Medical School, where her research focused on developing and applying single-molecule fluorescence imaging and force manipulation techniques, microfluidics, and cell biology to study DNA and protein interactions and protein functions under force. Her current research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of mechanosensory proteins in blood clotting and seeking new methodologies for therapeutics testing and treatment of blood and circulatory system disorders.