Guy German, PhD in Physics
Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Research interests: German is the PI of the Biological Soft Matter Mechanics Laboratory. His research lab focuses on understanding and controlling the structure, function, mechanical properties and dynamics of soft materials. Soft materials encompass the bulk of living tissues as well as diverse engineered materials commonly used in personal care products. The body contains many tissue layers that sit at interfaces. Epidermal skin tissue, endothelial tissue lining blood vessels and bronchial epithelial tissue lining the respiratory tract all play vital roles as semi-selective barriers that enable the transmission of essential compounds across the barrier whilst preventing the passage of harmful pathogens. When these tissue barriers become compromised they can lose their functionality and mechanical integrity. Tissue barriers can become damaged in many ways. For instance, ageing, extreme environmental conditions, dry skin disorders and aggressive cleansing required for sterile healthcare environments can all cause skin to crack or chap. Skin diseases also commonly cause swelling and the formation of painful exudative lesions. From an engineering perspective, skin cracking and lesion formation result from mechanical failure in the tissue. We seek to understand the multi-scale mechanics of tissues and explore how the mechanical integrity, function and mechanisms of failure can be affected by environmental conditions, bacterial infections, nanoparticle toxicity and even cosmetic treatments. In collaboration with Dr. Claudia Marques in the BBRC, current research is exploring the breakdown of bronchial epithelial tissue mechanical integrity from single and multispecies bacterial infections and the ability of S. Aureus bacteria, ordinarily found on the skin, to cause eczema.