Margaret L. Gardel

Prof. Margaret Gardel investigates how the physical behaviors of living cells are regulated as the cell goes about its daily functions. She specializes in understanding the cytoskeleton—the materials inside a cell that provide its shape and allow it to move. Her work could ultimately provide biomedical scientists with the means to devise new therapies for the treatment of cancer and other diseases. The Gardel Lab at UChicago blends physics and biology, furthers scientific understanding of how cells sense mechanical forces and respond to those forces with chemical activity.

Prof. Gardel also conducted research in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense to create biologically-inspired synthetic materials that can generate and respond to forces in the same way that cells do—by stiffening, changing shape, or self-healing in response to mechanical forces.

Prof. Gardel’s many honors include a National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, a Lucille Packard Fellowship, and an American Asthma Foundation Early Excellence Award. She is a member of the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, the Institute for Molecular Engineering and the James Franck Institute at the University.

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