Our lab seeks to understand how physical properties and biochemical cues work together to regulate biological functions.
Cells in tissues are in constant communication with other cells and with the material surrounding them, called the extracellular matrix. Through these communications, they receive physical and chemical signals that control how the tissue behaves. We want to understand how the interplay between physical properties and biochemical stimuli regulate biological function at the molecular, cellular and tissue level.
To do this, we combine a range of methods and approaches from molecular biology, engineering, biophysics, microscopy and computational modeling.
By carefully studying the three-dimensional interactions between cells and the extracellular matrix, we aim at understanding the mechanisms that cells use to sense and respond to physical stimuli and trigger other processes. We study how these mechanisms are regulated in healthy tissue and during development, and how they can be derailed in diseases like cancer.
We are particularly interested in understanding how the time-varying mechanical properties of tissues and the extracellular matrix affect tissues’ spatial and temporal dynamics. Through our research, we aim to reveal new principles that regulate cell behaviour and find ways to control processes in tissues by applying mechanical forces, eventually using these forces to strategically guide development or prevent disease progression.