Boris Hinz

Boris Hinz | Distinguished Professor of Tissue Repair & Regeneration
BSc, MSc, PhD (Bonn)

Main Appointments

  • Faculty of Dentistry

Additional Appointments

  • Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering
  • Department of Surgery

Contact Information

Laboratory of Tissue Repair & Regeneration, Matrix Dynamics Group, University of Toronto
Fitzgerald Building, 150 College Street, Room 234
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3E2 Canada

+1 416 978-8728 (office)
boris.hinz@utoronto.ca (email)
Laboratory of Tissue Repair and Regeneration (web)

Research Theme

Research Interests

Our research interests are the biomechanics and the cell and molecular biology of mesenchymal cells in the context of tissue repair and regeneration. We focus on the myofibroblast, a cell phenotype that drives tissue remodelling in wound healing, in fibrosis of all organs, and in the stroma reaction to tumours. The research expertise of my lab extends into areas of bioengineering and biophysics because myofibroblasts are mechano-responsive cells that receive and transmit forces from and to their microenvironment. Moreover, biomaterials used to produce implant scaffolds or synthetic body parts often generate fibrotic reactions by activating myofibroblast differentiation from a variety of precursor cells, including mesenchymal stem cells.

It is our aim to understand the molecular mechanisms that lead to myofibroblast formation and that control its fibrotic activity. This includes the functional analysis of the cell’s contractile apparatus (actin stress fibers), of force transmission at sites of cell-extracellular matrix contacts (focal adhesions) and of the mechanical cross-talk between contractile stress fibers of contacting fibroblasts at sites of cell-cell adherens junctions. We develop novel strategies counteracting myofibroblast malfunction by targeting these instrumental structures of the contractile phenotype.

Select Publications

Modarressi, A., Pietramaggiori, G., Vigato, E., Godbout, C., Pittet-Cuenod, B., and Hinz, B. (2010) Hypoxia impairs skin myofibroblast differentiation and function: novel paradigms for the treatment of chronic wounds. J Invest Dermatol, 130, 2818–2827 [PDF]pdficon_small

Hinz, B. and Gabbiani, G. (2010): Fibrosis: recent advances in myofibroblast biology and new therapeutic perspectives. F1000 Med Rep 2:78

Hinz, B.: (2010) The myofibroblast – paradigm for a mechanically active cell. Special Issue on Cell Mechanobiology, J Biomechanics 43 146-155 [PDF]pdficon_small

Follonier Castella, L., Buscemi, L, Godbout, C, Meister, J.-J., and Hinz, B. (2010) A new lock-step mechanism of matrix remodelling based on subcellular contractile events J. Cell Sci. 123: 1751-1760 [PDF]pdficon_small

Geissbuehler, M., Spielmann, T., Formey, A., Maerki, I., Leutenegger, M., Hinz, B., Johnsson, K., Van De Ville, D., and Lasser, T. (2010) Triplet Imaging of oxygen consumption during the contraction of a single smooth muscle cell (A7r5) Biophys J. 98: 339–349 [PDF]pdficon_small

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