• Reflections by Geert Schmid-Schönbein

    Biomechanics is bound to become one of the major areas of applied mechanics. Nowhere is this more apparent than when biomechanics is applied to medicine and disease. Whereas sports mechanics, orthopedic and cardiovascular biomechanics have made major advancements in biomechanics analysis, at the turn of the 21st century it became apparent that other medical problems may benefit from biomechanics.  Service as Vice-Chair and Chair of the US National Committee on Biomechanics was an opportunity to explore areas that traditionally were outside the domain of biomechanics analysis. With colleagues across the US, whose names are in the list of the first set of Frontiers meetings below, and with encouragement by many colleagues in- and outside of mechanics, the USNCB explored involvement of biomechanics in non-traditional areas. The enthusiasm to explore biomechanics problems in human diseases had a great attraction and these Frontiers topics have become integrated into the annual meeting by other societies. 

    My feeling is that the list of topics in which biomechanics can and should make a contribution to human health has just only begun. The opportunities are endless and of high priority to society and the individual’s health. Biomechanics has a unique role to play in understanding biology and pathogenesis, while traditional mechanics will gain from the richness of biological problems. The USNCB serves to explore these opportunities at the interface between societies and establishing non-traditional connections.  

    Geert W. Schmid-Schönbein


    1st U.S. National Symposium on Frontiers in Biomechanics

    Forging a New Biomechanics in the Era of Modern Biology (2003)


    · Geert W. Schmid-Schönbein, UCSD

    · Roger D. Kamm, MIT


    · Diseases associated with protein mis-folding

    · Biomechanics of venous disease

    · BioMEMS in therapeutic interventions

    2nd U.S. National Symposium on Frontiers in Biomechanics

    Biomechanics of Development (2005)


    · Naomi Chesler, University Wisconsin-Madison 

    · James Moore Jr., Texas A&M University 

    · David Vorp University of Pittsburgh


    · Embryonic growth biomechanics

    · Biomechanics of wpeciation and evolutionary biology

    · Dynamic structure/function imaging 

    3rd U.S. National Symposium on Frontiers in Biomechanics

    Mechanics of Organogenesis (2011)


    · Larry Taber, Washington University in St. Louis

    · Lance Davidson, University of Pittsburgh

    In the fields of tissue engineering, synthetic biology, and regenerative medicine, much can be learned by studying how nature creates tissues and organs in the embryo. Accordingly, the last decade has seen rapidly expanding interest among engineers in developmental mechanics. This Frontiers Meeting will bring together biologists, engineers, and biophysicists to discuss the state of the art and future directions in this exciting field. 


    · Genetic-mechanical interactions in morphogenesis

    · Cell interactions in morphogenesis

    · Cell-matrix interactions: branching morphogenesis

    · Development of cardiovascular and nervous systems

    · Multiscale morphogenesis

    · Morphomechanics of brain development

    · Biomechanical regulation of valvulogenesis

    · Cell shape in development

    4th U.S. National Symposium on Frontiers in Biomechanics

    Mechanics in Oncology (2012)

    · Cheng Dong, Penn State University
    · Lance Munn, Harvard University
    · Fan Yuan, Duke University

    · Normalizing the biochemical and mechanical tumor microenvironment
    · Probing the physics of tumor cells
    · Mechanical regulation of tumor reversion
    · Force-dependent tissue reprogramming for transformation and metastasis
    · Alpha4 integrin-dependent signaling in confined migration
    · Engineering molecular imaging probes for detection and analysis
    · Interstitial and lymphatic flows: active regulation and immunity
    · Linking cancer and inflammation by microenvironment and mechanics
    · Solid and fluid biomechanics in the tumor environment

    5th U.S. National Symposium on Frontiers in Biomechanics

    Biomechanics of Infectious Diseases (2013)


    · Wendy Thomas, U of Washington 

    · Scott I Simon, UC Davis

    Bacteria and viruses have evolved a variety of strategies to survive and thrive inside the host organism in spite of immune responses by the host to protect them from harmful microbes. These host-pathogen interactions involve key biochemical mediators, many of which are catalyzed by biomechanical reactions and analyzing these processes requires expertise in both microbiology and biomechanics. Our strategy in this Symposium will be to open a wide dialogue between microbiologists studying the evasion and infection mechanisms utilized by microbes and bioengineers and biophysicists who analyze the mechanics underlying cell membrane and cytoplasmic stresses, strain, passive and active motions, molecular interactions and adhesion, migration, and transport in-vivo and in-vitro at various length scales from whole organism motility to molecular conformational dynamics. 


    · Mechanical regulation of early bacterial colonization and bacterial uptake

    · Mechanical regulation of bacterial adhesion

    · Insights into TB immunity and therapies from the zebrafish

    · Neutrophil adhesion to A. phagocytophilum under shear stress 

    · Novel technologies to inhibit Staphylococcus aureus/epidermidis biofilms

    · Extracellular matrix of bacterial biofilms 

    · Mechanics of biofilm detachment