Cheavar Blair is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Pruitt Lab in the Center for Bioengineering at UC Santa Barbara. He also recently completed his first year of postdoctoral research at Stanford. He received his undergraduate degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and his Ph.D. degree from University of Kentucky.
Why UC Santa Barbara?
I came to UCSB to work with my mentor Beth Pruitt, as she is a world expert in mechanobiology. I also came to UCSB because it is a great institution for collaborative research.
The Pruitt Lab focuses on cellular level biomechanics and mechanotransduction. We are interested in the molecular biophysics and mechanisms of mechanobiology, i.e., the role of mechanical force in the evolution of structure and function in human pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes (hPSC-CMs) including related topics of cell adhesion, downstream signaling and mechanoresponse.
Santa Barbara is a beautiful place that offers great outdoor activities, and excellent food. I particularly like the local breweries, and seafood restaurants on the wharf.
What is your research focus?
My current research focuses on understanding how single point mutations in cardiomyocytes at the molecular level translate to organ level dysfunction. I am able to conduct these studies by using a human stem cell model that allows researchers to study cardiac diseases in a dish.
Why did you choose your area of research?
I got into my area of research, because of my personal interest in understanding the mechanisms that underlie cardiac dysfunction. Heart disease runs in my family, so by conducting research that may one day eradicate the disease, my research gives me a great sense of pride and purpose.