Sean P. Palecek

Professor

Room: 3637
Engineering Hall
1415 Engineering Drive
Madison, WI 53706

Ph: (608) 262-8931
Fax: (608) 262-5434
palecek@engr.wisc.edu


Profile Summary

Cells must carefully integrate environmental cues, including chemical and physical stimuli, so they can function properly. These cues are sensed by cellular receptors, which in turn activate a variety of intracellular signal transduction pathways and gene transcription programs. We dissect cellular signaling networks, focusing oon mechano-transduction pathways, and characterize how quantitative changes in the flow of signals can control a wide variety of cellular processes. In particular, we study how cell-cell adhesive interactions affect disease pathogenesis and how adhesive and mechanical signals combine with chemical signals to regulate stem cell fate choices.

How does cell adhesion affect disease pathogenesis? We use genetic screens to identify adhesion receptors and regulation of these receptors in the opportunistic human pathogen Candida albicans. We then characterize the roles of diverse adhesion receptors in C. albicans binding to a variety of materials used in medical devices, biofilm formation on these materials, binding to mammalian epithelial cells, and virulence in mammals. We also study how the morphogenic switch between yeast and filamentous growth forms affects adhesion, force generation, biofilm formation and virulence. Our efforts will aid development and evaluation of antifungal interventions as well as design of biofilm-resistant materials.

How do adhesive and mechanical cues affect human embryonic stem cell (hESCs) differentiation? Embryonic stem cells have the unique combination of limitless self-renewal and the ability to form any cell type found in the adult. These properties offer tremendous promise in tissue engineering and stem cell-based therapies. To harness this promise, we must understand how to effectively culture hESCs and regulate their differentiation. Stem cells make differentiation decisions based on signals from their microenvironment, including chemical and physical stimuli. We study how adhesive forces and mechanical strain affect self-renewal and differentiation of hESCs then apply what we learn to the design of methods to scale up hESC culture and to development of strategies to efficiently guide hESC differentiation to desired cell types.

Education

  • BChE, University of Delaware
  • MS, University of Illinois
  • PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Research Interests

  • cellular engineering
  • tissue engineering
  • stem cells
  • cell and protein biosensors

Awards, Honors and Societies

  • 3M Nontenured Faculty Award (2004)
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2003)
  • Lilly Young Faculty Award in Biosystems Engineering (2001)

Publications

  • Li, Fang and Palecek, Sean P. Identification of EAP1, a Candida albicans gene involved in binding human epithelial cells. Eukaryotic Cell, (2003), 2, 1266-1273.
  • Brueggemeier, Shawn B.; Kron, Stephen J; Palecek, Sean P. Use of Protein-Acrylamide Copolymer Hydrogels for Measuring Protein Concentration and Activity. Analytical Biochemistry, (2004), 15, 180-189.
  • Chambers, Prima C.; Issaka, Aminatu; Palecek, Sean P. Saccharomyces cerevisiae JEN1 Promoter Activity is Inversely Related to Repressing Sugar Concentration. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, (2004), 70, 8-17.
  • Chow, Chi-Kin and Palecek, Sean P. Enzyme encapsulation in permeabilized Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells. Biotechnology Progress, (2004), 20, 449-456.
  • Ji, Lin; de Pablo, Juan J.; Palecek, Sean P. Cryopreservation of adherent human embryonic stem cells. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, (2004), 88, 299-312.
  • Ohtake, Satoshi; Schebor, Carolina; Palecek, Sean P.; de Pablo, Juan J. Effect of sugar-phosphate mixtures on the stability of DPPC membranes in dehydrated systems. Cryobiology, (2004), 48, 81-89.
  • Ohtake, Satoshi; Schebor, Carolina; Palecek, Sean P.; de Pablo, Juan J. Effect of pH, counter ion, and phosphate concentration on the Glass Transition Temperature of Freeze-Dried Sugar-Phosphate Mixtures. Pharmaceutical Research, (2004), 21, 1615-1621.
  • Ohtake, Satoshi; Schebor, Carolina; Palecek, Sean P.; de Pablo, Juan J. Phase behavior of freeze-dried phospholipid-cholesterol mixtures stabilized with trehalose. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, (2005), 1713, 57-64.

Courses

Fall 2014-2015

  • BME 790 - Master\'s Research and Thesis

  • BME 699 - Advanced Independent Study
  • BME 399 - Independent Study
  • CBE 489 - Honors in Research
  • CBE 990 - Thesis-Research
  • CBE 890 - Pre-Dissertator\'s Research
  • CBE 790 - Master\'s Research or Thesis
  • CBE 599 - Special Problems
  • CBE 562 - Special Topics in Chemical Engineering
  • Profile Summary

    Cells must carefully integrate environmental cues, including chemical and physical stimuli, so they can function properly. These cues are sensed by cellular receptors, which in turn activate a variety of intracellular signal transduction pathways and gene transcription programs. We dissect cellular signaling networks, focusing oon mechano-transduction pathways, and characterize how quantitative changes in the flow of signals can control a wide variety of cellular processes. In particular, we study how cell-cell adhesive interactions affect disease pathogenesis and how adhesive and mechanical signals combine with chemical signals to regulate stem cell fate choices.

    How does cell adhesion affect disease pathogenesis? We use genetic screens to identify adhesion receptors and regulation of these receptors in the opportunistic human pathogen Candida albicans. We then characterize the roles of diverse adhesion receptors in C. albicans binding to a variety of materials used in medical devices, biofilm formation on these materials, binding to mammalian epithelial cells, and virulence in mammals. We also study how the morphogenic switch between yeast and filamentous growth forms affects adhesion, force generation, biofilm formation and virulence. Our efforts will aid development and evaluation of antifungal interventions as well as design of biofilm-resistant materials.

    How do adhesive and mechanical cues affect human embryonic stem cell (hESCs) differentiation? Embryonic stem cells have the unique combination of limitless self-renewal and the ability to form any cell type found in the adult. These properties offer tremendous promise in tissue engineering and stem cell-based therapies. To harness this promise, we must understand how to effectively culture hESCs and regulate their differentiation. Stem cells make differentiation decisions based on signals from their microenvironment, including chemical and physical stimuli. We study how adhesive forces and mechanical strain affect self-renewal and differentiation of hESCs then apply what we learn to the design of methods to scale up hESC culture and to development of strategies to efficiently guide hESC differentiation to desired cell types.


    Update Profile