Brown University School of Engineering

Engineering Seminar: Biomedical Engineering

Thursday, December 12, 2019

9:00am - 10:00am

School of Engineering

Barus and Holley, 190

Jude Phillip, Ph.D., postdoctoral associate at Weill Cornell Medicine, will present a talk: “Cellular Phenotypes Get Physical: Lessons from Aging and Lymphoma.”

Abstract: The application of physical sciences and engineering approaches to address medical questions have yielded significant advances in our understanding of disease. In light of this, my research focuses on applying physical sciences and engineering approaches to elucidate the role of cellular phenotypes in health and disease. My talk will focus on two areas, mainly :1) the determination of cellular biological age based on biophysical properties of cells, and 2) the influence of intra-tumor stress-regulation in creating a pro-lymphoma niche through stromal education and matrix remodeling.
As we age, cells within organs and tissues undergo profound biophysical and biomolecular changes, which significantly influence the rate of deterioration and progressive functional decline in humans. This accumulation of age-associated dysfunctions can be thought of as the decreased capacity of cellular systems to absorb and rebound after perturbations involving either intrinsic or extrinsic stimuli, such as DNA damage after chemotherapy or physical impact from a fall. Working under the premise that age-related dysfunctions at the clinical scale first manifests as changes at the cellular scale, we postulated that aging information was encoded within properties of cells. To accurately assess aging at the cellular level, we subjected primary dermal fibroblasts to a variety of biophysical and biomolecular measurements, then probed cross-sectional aging trajectories based on a multivariate linear model. These findings provide a proof-of-concept, and a hypothetical framework that can be used to stratify individuals based on aging trajectories in health and disease.
In the area of lymphoma, my current work focuses on a critical and understudied aspect of lymphoma biology, geared towards the understanding of the role of the stromal microenvironment in creating a pro-lymphoma niche. By asking questions regarding both the biomolecular and biophysical properties of lymphomas, i.e. tumor mechanics, extracellular matrix (ECM) composition and architecture, cellular composition, and genetic information, we identified that the molecular stress regulator—heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), shapes the lymphoma microenvironment through stromal re-programming and matrix remodeling. My long vision for this line of research is to identify exploitable targets within the microenvironment for eventual implementation into the clinic.

Bio: Jude’s research vision at the interface of engineering and medicine focuses on applying fundamental engineering principles to answer key questions in health and disease, primarily in the areas of aging and lymphoma. To this end, his long term goal is to develop, and translate discoveries and technologies from the laboratory into the medical arena to improve human health and longevity. Jude is currently a postdoctoral associate at Weill Cornell Medicine in the laboratories of Leandro Cerchietti and Ari Melnick, where he studies the role of the stromal microenvironment in creating a pro-lymphoma niche. Prior to moving to Weill Cornell Medicine, Jude received his PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular engineering at Johns Hopkins University, where under the mentorship of Denis Wirtz, he developed a cell-based platform to determine the cellular biological age of healthy individuals based on properties of their cells. Jude also holds a bachelor of engineering degree in Chemical Engineering from the City College of New York.