Prof. Edoardo Mazza


Biomechanics, biphasic materials, fiber network models, mechanical biocompatibility, mechanobiology

What we investigate

We develop novel experimental techniques for the characterization of the mechanical response of synthetic and biological materials. The deformation behavior of soft tissues is analyzed at each relevant length-scale and described with appropriate mathematical models. Tissue engineered and synthetic materials are evaluated in terms of their “mechanical biocompatibility”.

Our research in more detail

Abbildung Werner
Illustration of inflation experiment, used in our research to characterize the multiaxial response of soft biological tissues, such as skin. Our set-up allows controlling tissue hydration and temperature, as well as state of deformation and fluid pressure. In-situ testing in the multiphoton microscope (right) enables visualization of the collagen fibers and their reorientation during tissue deformation. The inflation device can also be used to apply periodic deformation to a tissue engineered skin substitute, to accelerate its maturation.

We analyze skin from a biomechanical viewpoint with the aim to characterize changes in its microstructure associated with skin pathologies/alterations. One main focus is towards improved diagnosis and early detection of scleroderma (collaboration with Prof. Distler, USZ). Parameters associated with the elastic as well as dissipative tissue behavior are determined based on in-vivo biomechanical measurements. To this end, novel measurement techniques are developed for quasi-static mechanical assessment. The same approach is also applied to monitor scar maturation after surgery to repair large wounds (collaboration with Prof. Schiestl, KISPI).  A novel method for in-vivo skin surface elastography is applied to study the influence of activin on the evolution of ECM properties in healing wounds (collaboration with Prof. Werner, ETH). In collaboration with Prof. Reichmann, Kispi, we develop a new bioreactor for cyclic stretching of the scaffold used for skin tissue engineering. Initial results indicate that mechanical stimulation strongly enhances fibroblast proliferation. With Prof. Werner and Prof. Tibbitt, ETH, we develop in vitro model system to evaluate the response of dermal cells to chemo-mechanical stimuli. These investigations are informed through simulation of physiological skin deformation and its influence on dermal cell environments based on our multiscale mathematical models of skin.

Selected publications

SKINTEGRITY.CH Principal Investigators are underlined:

  • Wietecha M+, Pensalfini M+, Müller, B, Cangkrama M, Brinckmann J, Mazza M* and Werner S* (2020). Activin-mediated reprogramming of the fibroblast transcriptome and matrisome controls the biomechanical properties of skin wounds. Nat Commun 11, 2604. +Joint first authors, *corresponding authors.
  • Müller B+, Ruby L+, Jordan S, Rominger MB, Mazza E*, and Distler O* (2020). Validation of the suction device Nimble for the assessment of skin fibrosis in systemic sclerosis, Arthritis Res Ther 22, 128. +Joint first authors, *corresponding authors.
  • Wahlsten A+, Pensalfini M+,, Stracuzzi A, Restivo G, Hopf R and Mazza E (2019). On the compressibility and poroelasticity of human and murine skin. Biomech Model Mechan 18, 4, 1079. +Joint first authors.
  • Elrod J+, Müller B+, Mohr Ch, Meuli M, Mazza E and Schiestl C (2019). An effective procedure for skin stiffness measurement to improve Paediatric Burn Care. Burns 45, 5, 1102. +Joint first authors.