newsfront 1Lab News

Keep up with what's happening in the lab! Here we highlight any significant events that have been going on from conferences, to publications, to new staff!








April - June 2017

  • Good bye and good luck to Anne Koehler. After more than 8 years being heart and soul of the LTRR, Anne will build and run the research labs of Blue Rock Therapeutics. BRT’s vision in Toronto is to cure diseases with significant cell loss in cardiovascular conditions. They start well by ripping our heart out. We will survive, but will we regenerate?
  • Welcome to Boaz Wong (May 8) and Akosua Vilaysane (May 15) who started their summer research projects. Boaz will continue to work with Pardis on attractive myofibroblasts and Akosua will help Mariëlle to control first HUCPVCs and then wound healing.
  • Congratulations to Mariëlle Walraven who was successful in not only one but two Post-Doc fellowship competitions. Mariëlle is being offered awards from the Rubicon program of The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and the CIHR. Excellent!
  • Congratulations to all authors of the miR-21 memory study (Li et al., Nat Methods) that has been recommended in F1000Prime as being of special significance in its field.


  • This year’s lab excursion went to Tobermory, Ontario from July 5-7 for an exciting snorkeling adventure.
  • Congratulations to Boris on being awarded a CIHR grant to study myofibroblast interactions with inflammatory cells and co-PI-ing another CIHR grant with Chris McCulloch, who will decipher the role of Filamin A in tissue repair. See the feature in the Faculty of Dentistry Newsletter.
  • Congratulations to Pardis Pakshir for having been selected to present her work at the Ontario Networking Event (ONE) in Biophysics, June 17, Toronto, ON, Canada.
  • Monika Lodyga, Boaz Wang/Pardis Pakshir, and Kyu Kim presented their work as posters at the Gordon Research Conference and Seminar on Tissue Repair and Regeneration, June 3-9, New London, NH.


  • Boris chaired the Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Tissue Repair and Regeneration (TRR) – “Scientifically Informed Strategies to Turn Pathologic Tissue Repair into Perfect Regeneration,” taking place in New London, NH, June 4-9, 2017. The meeting attracted the total allowable number of 175 attendees. The program featured 37 invited speakers and discussion leaders, 19 short talks selected from submitted abstracts and 105 poster presentations from 18 different countries. The conference received generous support through different UofT programs and departments, including the Institute for Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (IBBME), Medicine by Design (MbD), and the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, and the Faculty of Dentistry. Part of these funds was used to offset registration and/or travel costs for U of T junior and senior researchers. The program featured 2 speakers/chairs from the Faculty of Dentistry, 2 speakers from IBBME, and 3 additional Canadian presenters.


  • New Publication: Song, E., Jahng, J.W.S., Chong, L.P., Sung, H., Han, M., Luo, C., Wu, D., Boo, S.*, Hinz, B., Cooper, M., Robertson, A., Berger, T., Mak, T.W., George,I., Schulze, P.C., Wang, Y., Xu, A., Sweeney, G. (2017): Lipocalin-2 deficiency attenuates pressure overload-induced heart failure in mice: a role of reduced HMBG1 induced TLR-4 signaling and NLRP3 inflammasome activation. American Journal of Translational Research

January - March 2017

  • The Gordon Research Conference (GRC) and Seminar on Tissue Repair and Regeneration is around the corner: June 3-9, 2017. Please check the program here.
  • Also upcoming is the Toronto Fibrosis Workshop, taking place June 22-23, 2017 in Toronto, Princess Margaret Hospital, 610 University Ave., Room 7-605. Register here by May 31, 2017.
  • The 23rd Canadian Connective Tissue Society Conference will take place in Montreal, at the McGill New Residence Hall (NRH) from May 18-20, 2017. Abstract deadline: March 31 2017. Register here; submit abstract here.
  • The 4th Annual Skin Research Group Symposium will take place in Montreal, at the McGill New Residence Hall (NRH) from May 17-18, 2017. Abstract deadline: March 31 2017. Register here.


  • Welcome to Leonie Fecht and Nina Jetter! Both are here on an exchange program from the University of Reutlingen, Germany for 6 months of sheer joy and bliss – and to write a Bachelor thesis.
  • Congratulations to Boaz Wong and Akosua Vilaysane for being awarded with prestigious CIHR Undergraduate Research fellowships. Akosua achieved an impressive Rank 2 out of 80 applicants (2.5%). Job well done - we are looking forward to having you both in the lab for the Summer!
  • Farewell to Yousef Shafieyan who left by January 31 after 2.5 years of working with a lot of heart (cells) and rubber. His work will soon be submitted as two manuscripts. Yousef will be starting his own company.
  • Farewell to Tobias Kühl who left us by the end of February. Tobias will start a post-doc with Dr. David Lagares in the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston after a brief stint back in his PhD lab in Freiburg. It was a privilege having you both in the lab. Best of luck with your future career!


  • New Publication: Niddam, A.F., Ebady, R., Bansal, A., Koehler, A., Hinz, B. and Moriarty, T.J. (2017): Plasma fibronectin stabilizes Borrelia burgdorferi-endothelial interactions under vascular shear stress by a catch bond mechanism. PNAS
  • New Publication: Coelho, N.M., Arora, P.D., van Putten, S.M., Boo, S., Petrovic, P., Hinz, B., and McCulloch, C.A. (2017): Discoidin Domain Receptor 1 Mediates Myosin Dependent Collagen Contraction. Cell Reports


October - December 2016

  • Check out this feature article on mechanical priming on the Faculty of Dentistry website: LINK.
  • Ho Ho Ho! We have had our annual LTRR Christmas lunch on December 12. The the annual Matrix Dynamics Group Christmas Party was celebrated on Friday, December 16, 2016. All Santas were secret.
  • Good bye and good luck to Markus Auler! All the very best in your upcoming adventures and hope you will stay in touch!
  • Welcome to Dr. Tobias Kuehl! Tobias comes from the Bruckner-Tuderman lab (University of Freiburg) and will join the LTRR until approximately March 2017 to work on part of his post-doc project. He will be utilizing soft silicone substrates to investigate dermal fibroblast from Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa patients.


July - September 2016

  • LTRR is back on-line with an updated web presence. Many thanks to Alice Green and Boaz Wong for making this possible.
  • More work, more fame: Boris joined the Canada-based journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (BCB) in the capacity of Associate Editor. Coincidentally, Boris published his first paper ever with the BCB in 1997. Whenever he had some beers, he claims to have invented the now standard kymograph analysis for cell membrane dynamics. He just gave it an ugly name: SACED.
  • Welcome to Mariëlle Walraven who joined the lab as Post-Doc fellow on September 6, 2016. Mariëlle comes with a PhD in Genetics from the University of Amsterdam. Her thesis was on “Cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in scarless wound healing in the fetal skin”.
  • Welcome to Trong Shen who started on September 6, 2016. Trong comes with a Bachelor of Applied Science, Honours in Nanotechnology Engineering from the University of Waterloo and hopefully stays to start a Master thesis in January 2017.
  • LTRR on the water again: This year we spent three days on beautiful campsites at Mew Lake in Algonquin Park. We canoed for one day on the lakes with splendid weather conditions.
  • LTRR on the move: The University of Toronto has been successful in its bid to secure strategic research infrastructure funds from the Governments of Canada and Ontario, a portion of which has been earmarked for Dentistry. The Faculty of Dentistry is now embarking on project to renovate and revitalize its research infrastructure over the next two years. The Matrix Dynamics Group and LTRR will then leave Fitzgerald and join the Faculty physically. Check this related article from the Varsity Student Newspaper at U of T, featuring mind-boggling statements from Hinz.


  • New Publication: Langevin, H., Keely, P., Mao, J., Hodge, L., Schleip, R., Deng, G., Hinz, B., Swartz, M., de Valois, B., Zick, S., and Findley, T. (2016): Connecting (t)issues: How research in fascia biology can impact integrative oncology. Cancer Research
  • New Publication: Li, C.X., Talele, N.P., Boo, S., Knee-Walden, E., Koehler, A., Kapus, A., Speight, P., Balestrini, J.L., Hinz, B. (2016). Micro RNA miR-21 preserves the fibrotic mechanical memory of mesenchymal stem cells. Nature Materials
  • New Publication: Spinale, F.G., Frangogiannis, N.G., Hinz, B., Holmes, J.W., Kassiri, Z., Lindsey, M.L. (2016): Crossing Into the Next Frontier of Cardiac Extracellular Matrix Research. Circulation Research
  • New Publication: Hinz, B. (2016): The role of myofibroblasts in wound healing. Current Research in Translational Medicine


January - March 2016

  • Yousef Shafieyan was invited to present progress made on his Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research (TRCHR) fellowship at the TRCHR 1st Scientific Symposium, May 12-13, 2016, Toronto.
  • Congratulations to Pardis Pakshir for passing her PhD qualifier!
  • Welcome to Michelle Im. Michelle will be starting on April 18 as Research Assistant in our lab to provide project support to our staff and students. Michelle comes with an MSc in Physiology and Pharmacology from the lab of Lina Dagnino at Western University.
  • Congratulations to Henna Karvonen for receiving a prestigious 3-year Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the Research Council for Health of the Academy of Finland. The funding rate for this competition was only 11%, so very well done!!
  • Our application for support under the Connaught Innovation Award program has been awarded to commercially develop a cardiomyocyte contraction screening device.


  • New Publication: Bochaton, M.-L., Gabbiani, G., and Hinz, B. (2016) The Myofibroblast in Wound Healing and Fibrosis: Answered and Unanswered Questions. F1000 Biol Rep
  • New Publication: Dadson, K., Kovacevic, V., Rengasamy, P., Kim, G.H.E., Boo, S., Li, R.K., George, I., P. Schulze, C., Hinz, B., Sweeney, G. (2016), Cellular, structural and functional cardiac remodeling following pressure overload and unloading. International Journal of Cardiology
  • New Publication: Szeto, S.G., Narimatsu, M., Lu, M., Sidiqi, A., Chan, L., De Freitas, K.,Boo, S., Hinz, B., John, R., Wrana, J.L., Kapus, A., Yuen, D.A. (2016) YAP/TAZ are mechanoregulators of TGF-β-Smad signaling and renal fibrogenesis. J Am Soc Nephrol
  • New Publication: Varney, S.D, Betts, C.B., Zheng, R, Wu, L., Hinz, B., Zhou, J., Van De Water, L (2016) Hic-5 is required for myofibroblast differentiation by regulating mechanically dependent, MRTF-A nuclear accumulation J Cell Sci.
  • New Publication: Hinz, B. and Suki, B. Does breathing amplify fibrosis? An editorial on: Froese et al. (2016): Stretch Induced Activation of TGF-β1 in Pulmonary Fibrosis. American Journal of Respiratory And Critical Care Medicine

April - June 2016

  • Congratulations to Pardis Pakshir and Ericka Knee-Walden for winning the Best Poster Presentation Prize in the PhD trainee category at the 22nd Canadian Connective Tissue Conference in Hamilton!
  • The lab attended collectively the 22nd Canadian Connective Tissue Conference at McMaster University in Hamilton June 1-3, 2016. Support the Canadian Connective Tissue Society.
  •  Welcome to Markus Auler who will be performing a 6-month research project in the lab, officially starting on May 30, 2016. Markus will be working on the effect of specific micro RNAs on fibroblast contractility and differentiation phenotype.
  • Welcome to Boaz Wong who will be performing a summer research project in the lab starting on May 2, 2016. Boaz will support the macrophage crew. Also, congratulations to Boaz for obtaining an important Undergraduate Fellowship from CIHR.
  • Congratulations to Majd et al. (2015) for winning the prestigious Biomaterials 2015 Top Images poster award for an image published in the paper entitled “Novel micropatterns mechanically control fibrotic reactions at the surface of silicone implants”! The award was handed out (in absentia) at the World Biomaterials Congress in Montreal, Canada (May 21).
  • The Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research (TRCHR) has selected the application “Multi-factorial Immune Cell Based Development of Non-Ischemic Cardiomyopathyfor a TRCHR Innovation Fund Seed Grant/New Ideas award. Principal Investigator is Dr. Slava Epelman, with Co-PIs Drs. Boris Hinz and Tania Watts.


  • New Publication: Nanchahal, J. and Hinz, B. (2016) Strategies to overcome the hurdles to treat fibrosis, a major unmet clinical need. PNAS