Oleg Kim, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics (Virginia Tech)


Research interests

Biophysics of blood clotting, mechanobiology, cytoskeleton, biomaterials, cancer metastasis aspects

Key words: platelets, fibrin, cytoskeleton, blood clots, integrin, confocal microscopy, rheology, hemostasis, thrombosis

Description of research

Our laboratory employs a multidisciplinary approach that integrates fundamental experimental and computational principles from biophysics and engineering. We focus on studying various aspects of cell mechanobiology, as well as the mechanical and transport properties of biomaterials.

One specific area of interest is the phenomenon of blood clot contraction, which plays a vital role in hemostasis, wound healing, and the restoration of blood flow past obstructive thrombi. Previously, our research has demonstrated that clot contraction occurs due to activated platelets exerting a pulling force on surrounding fibrin fibers through their filopodia. As a result, the fibrin fibers deform, accumulate on the platelet surface, and cause compaction of the fibrin network. Our primary aim is to unveil and quantify the multiscale, time-dependent biomechanical and structural mechanisms underlying platelet-driven clot contraction and explore its functional consequences, including its impact on clot mechanical stability. To achieve our objectives, our plan encompasses the following: a) Investigating the structural mechanisms of platelet-induced clot contraction at both the cellular and subcellular levels; b) Identifying the structural basis for changes in the viscoelasticity of blood clots during platelet-driven contraction; and c) Unraveling the late-stage structural, metabolic, and functional consequences of platelet activation.

We are also fascinated by the process of blood clotting and wound healing specifically in oral injuries. Additionally, our objective is to acquire a deeper understanding of the mechanobiological function and structure of megakaryocytes.

Selected publications

Kim, O.V., Litvinov, R.I., Mordakhanova, E.R., Bi, E., Vagin, O. and Weisel, J.W., 2022. Contribution of septins to human platelet structure and function. Iscience25(7).

Pancaldi, F., Kim, O.V., Weisel, J.W., Alber, M. and Xu, Z., 2022. Computational biomechanical modeling of fibrin networks and platelet-fiber network interactions. Current Opinion in Biomedical Engineering22, p.100369.

Fong, K.P., Molnar, K.S., Agard, N., Litvinov, R.I., Kim, O.V., Wells, J.A., Weisel, J.W., DeGrado, W.F. and Bennett, J.S., 2021. Cleavage of talin by calpain promotes platelet-mediated fibrin clot contraction. Blood Advances5(23), pp.4901-4909.

Klymenko, Y., Bos, B., Campbell, L., Loughran, E., Liu, Y., Yang, J., Kim, O. and Stack, M.S., 2020. Lysophosphatidic acid modulates ovarian cancer multicellular aggregate assembly and metastatic dissemination. Scientific Reports10(1), p.10877.

Kim, O.V., Nevzorova, T.A., Mordakhanova, E.R., Ponomareva, A.A., Andrianova, I.A., Le Minh, G., Daminova, A.G., Peshkova, A.D., Alber, M.S., Vagin, O. and Litvinov, R.I., 2019. Fatal dysfunction and disintegration of thrombin-stimulated platelets. Haematologica104(9), p.1866.

Kim, O.V., Litvinov, R.I., Alber, M.S. and Weisel, J.W., 2017. Quantitative structural mechanobiology of platelet-driven blood clot contraction. Nature communications8(1), p.1274.

Kim, O.V., Litvinov, R.I., Chen, J., Chen, D.Z., Weisel, J.W. and Alber, M.S., 2017. Compression-induced structural and mechanical changes of fibrin-collagen composites. Matrix Biology60, pp.141-156.

Klymenko, Y., Kim, O., Loughran, E., Yang, J., Lombard, R., Alber, M. and Stack, M.S., 2017. Cadherin composition and multicellular aggregate invasion in organotypic models of epithelial ovarian cancer intraperitoneal metastasis. Oncogene36(42), pp.5840-5851.

Kim, O.V., Litvinov, R.I., Weisel, J.W. and Alber, M.S., 2014. Structural basis for the nonlinear mechanics of fibrin networks under compression. Biomaterials35(25), pp.6739-6749