Co - Mentor
CONTACT GUIDANCE DURING IMMUNE DISEASES AND CANCER METASTASIS
Cell migration is fundamental process required for a wide array of physiological and pathological processes. Development, angiogenesis, wound healing, and immune responses as well as cancer metastasis and chronic inflammatory diseases all require cells to migrate in a complex and dynamic microenvironment. In many cases, cells undergo persistent directional migration guided by chemical (chemotaxis), electrical (electrotaxis), and/or topographical (contact guidance) cues presented by the cell’s microenvironment. In particular, the topographical features that govern contact guidance and the underlying molecular mechanisms by which cells sense and respond to topographical remain poorly understood. Using two- and three-dimensional surfaces of controllable biomimetic matrix fibers, we wish to (i) determine how specific topographical cues regulate the migration of immune and cancer cells, and (ii) to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which these cells sense and respond to topographical cues during migration. This work will rely on the combined use of live cell imaging of wild type and mutant cells expressing fluorescently tagged cytoskeletal and signaling proteins, computational image analyses, and biochemical measurements of signaling cascades. In the context of this collaboration, fellows will be exposed to dynamic and highly interactive groups that merge expertise in engineering and biology to answer pressing questions in the field of cell migration. We envision that the results from these studies will provide significant novel insights in the mechanisms that regulate immune diseases and cancer metastasis.