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Alexander Cartagena-Rivera, Ph.D.
Ph.D., Purdue University
My current research projects mainly focus on the use of the atomic force microscope and novel mathematical models to study the biophysics of cells and tissues. My primary research project is to determine the stiffness of hair cell stereocilia bundles using the noncontact acoustic frequency modulation technique. Hair bundle mechanics provide direct insight into the diagnosis and progression of hearing loss and deafness. My second research project is focused on measuring the tension in tissues and the forces acting in cell-cell adhesions. Epithelial mechanics provide the opportunity to investigate biomechanical feedback on tissues, and may provide critical insight into the molecular regulation of important functions such as during-development elongation of the cochlear and vestibular sensory hearing epithelia and the maintenance of tensional homeostasis for vibrational sound detection.