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Cynthia Reinhart-King

Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Director of Graduate Studies in Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical Engineering

Research Focus

The central mission of the Reinhart-King lab is to understand the mechanisms that drive tissue formation and tissue disruption during diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancer. Specifically, we focus on how physical and chemical cues within the extracellular environment drive fundamental cellular processes including cell-matrix adhesion, cell-cell adhesion and cell migration. We employ multidisciplinary methodologies involving principles from cell biology, biophysics, biomaterials and biomechanics. Of particular interest are the pathophysiology of angiogenesis and atherosclerosis and the extracellular cues driving metastatic cell migration.

We use a multi-scale approach to understand how cells integrate physical and chemical cues within their environment. At the tissue level, we characterize the structural, mechanical and compositional changes occurring in tissues during disease progression using advanced imaging techniques, mechanical measurements, histology, and biochemical assays. We use this knowledge to build models of healthy and diseased tissues using tissue engineering approaches and microfabrication. At the cellular level, we use these models to understand how physical and chemical features within the extracellular matrix alter cell behaviors such as adhesion, migration and proliferation. At the molecular level, we use various cellular and molecular biology tools to uncover the intracellular pathways being affected by the microenvironment. This multi-scale, integrated approach has the power to uncover novel therapeutic targets to slow and/or prevent diseases such as atherosclerosis and metastasis.

Selected Publications

  1. Bordeleau F, Mason BN, Lollis EM, Mazzola M, Zanotelli MR, Somasegar S, Califano JP, Montague C, LaValley DJ, Huynh J, Mencia-Trinchant N, Negrón Abril YL, Hassane DC, Bonassar LJ, Butcher JT, Weiss RS, Reinhart-King CA., Matrix stiffening promotes a tumor vasculature phenotype, PNAS, 2017, 17;114(3):492-497.
  2. Rahman A, Carey SP, Kraning-Rush CM, Goldblatt ZE, Bordeleau F, Lampi MC, Lin DY, García AJ, Reinhart-King CA., Vinculin Regulates Directionality and Cell Polarity in 2D, 3D Matrix and 3D Microtrack Migration., Molecular Biology of the Cell, 2017, in press
  3. Lintz M, Muñoz A, Reinhart-King CA., The Mechanics of Single Cell and Collective Migration of Tumor Cells.,2017, J Biomech Eng., 1;139(2).
  4. Bordeleau F, Califano JP, Negrón Abril YL, Mason BN, LaValley DJ, Shin SJ, Weiss RS, Reinhart-King CA., Tissue stiffness regulates serine/arginine-rich protein-mediated splicing of the extra domain B-fibronectin isoform in tumors, PNAS, 2015, 112(27):8314-9.
  5. Kohn JC, Zhou DW, Bordeleau F, Zhou AL, Mason BN, Mitchell MJ, King MR, Reinhart-King CA., Cooperative effects of matrix stiffness and fluid shear stress on endothelial cell behavior., Biophys J., 2015, 3;108(3):471-8.
  6. Kraning-Rush CM, Carey SP, Lampi MC, Reinhart-King CA., Microfabricated collagen tracks facilitate single cell metastatic invasion in 3D. Integrative Biology, 2013, 5(3):606-16. doi: 10.1039/c3ib20196a.
  7. Huynh J, Nishimura N, Rana K, Peloquin JM, Califano JP, Montague CR, King MR, Schaffer CB, Reinhart-King CA., Age-related intimal stiffening enhances endothelial permeability and leukocyte transmigration., Science Translational Medicine, 2011, 7;3(112):112ra122.

Selected Honors and Awards

  • 2016 -- National Academy of Engineering, Frontiers of Engineering, Speaker 
  • 2016 -- AIMBE Fellow 
  • 2016 -- Public Voices Fellow, Cornell Op-Ed Project 
  • 2016 -- Program Chair for the 2016 Annual BMES Meeting, Minneapolis, MN. 
  • 2015 -- Zellman Warhaft Commitment to Diversity Award, Cornell College of Engineering, for outstanding involvement in diversity issues. 
  • 2014-2017 -- Elected Board of Directors Member, National Biomedical Engineering Society 
  • 2013 -- Cook Award, Cornell University, for commitment to women's issues and contributions for changing the climate for women at Cornell. 
  • 2011 -- NSF CAREER Award 
  • 2010 -- Sonny Yau ’72 Excellence in Teaching Award, College of Engineering 
  • 2010 -- Rita Schaffer Young Investigator Award, Biomedical Engineering Society