Mentoring Faculty

  • Portrait
  • Jean Schwarzbauer, PhD
  • Institution: Princeton University
  • Professor, Department of Molecular Biology
  • Research Interests: Molecular and cell biology, extracellular matrix proteins and structure

Jean Schwarzbauer focuses on extracellular matrix (ECM), how it is put together and how it controls cell behaviors. Her group has focused on structure/function relationships of fibronectin, a major component of ECM, including mapping its binding domains and determining tissue-specific functions for its alternatively spliced domains. She also determined how interactions with other ECM proteins modulate cell-ECM adhesion and motility in a wound-healing model. Her current research explores more complex mechanistic issues related to ECM mechanical properties, how ECM promotes disease progression (specifically focusing on fibrosis), and how to design ECM-based biomaterials. The lab has established bacterial and insect cell expression systems to prepare large quantities of recombinant fibronectin, fibronectin fragments, and other ECM proteins. Microscopic, biochemical, and molecular approaches, and biophysics, engineering principles, and biomaterials strategies have been applied to address questions of ECM assembly and the role of this process in tissue functions.