Mechanotransduction in reproductive biology

Jonathon Egan is investigating the effects of mechanotransduction and extracellular matrix composition on the decidualisation of epithelial stromal cells.  Decidualisation involves the differentiation and maturation of uterine stromal cells into epithelioid secretory cells, and is believed to play an integral role in early pregnancy. The effects of mechanical cues on this process are still unknown despite the prevalence of assisted reproductive techniques that use mechanical force, such as endometrial scratching; so Jonathon uses a biomimetric stress-stiffening hydrogel to investigate this relationship. 

The premise of this investigation to is explore the relationship between mechanotransduction and decidualisation, with the goal of better understanding the biological mechanisms behind decidualisation and potential approaches to optimise and control the process, so that it may be applied in biomedical treatments for infertility