Thomas, Wendy

Faculty Profile

First Name: 
Wendy
Last Name: 
Thomas
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Title: 
Associate Professor
Primary Institution: 
UW
Department/Division: 
other
Department/Division: 
other
E-Mail: 
Mail/Box #: 

355061

Office Location: 

Foege N430P

Office Phone: 
(206) 616-3947
Research

Research Summary: 

The Thomas laboratory studies the regulation of adhesive proteins. Our work includes both basic science and translational work in engineered materials. While we study protein allostery in general, we are particularly interested in adhesion proteins that are regulated by mechanical forces that are exerted from external sources such as fluid flow or from internal sources such as cytoskeletal tension between cellular adhesion sites. We study the interface between mechanics and chemistry to understand how these mechanical forces regulate molecular structure and function. Much of our work has been on "catch bonds" that are activated rather than torn apart by tensile mechanical force.  In particular, we study mechanical regulation of bacterial biofilms (important in infectious diseases) and of thrombosis (critical in both bleeding disorders and heart attacks and strokes). Finally, we are interested in engineering novel bio-inspired "smart" adhesives that can be regulated with mechanical force or other external cues for technologies ranging from the molecular (biosensing, self-assembly and drug delivery technologies) to the macroscale (microrobotic adhesives).

Short Research Description: 
Adhesion proteins and molecular biomechanics
Areas of Interest: 
Microbiology, Infection & Immunity
Molecular Structure & Computational Biology
Publications

Taking Students
Year: 
2013 - 2016