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BIOE Seminar Series: Kandice Tanner
Friday, November 3, 2017
9:00 a.m.
Pepco Room (1105), Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building
For More Information:
Dr. Steven Jay

Dr. Kandice Tanner
Stadtman Investigator
Laboratory of Cell Biology,
Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute (NIH)

Engineering the physical properties of the tumor microenvironment

Transformation of the physical microenvironment including changes in mechanical stiffness of the extracellular matrix (ECM) may be one of the crucial factors that drives cancer progression. In addition to tissue mechanics, the  surface topography of the ECM microenvironment has been shown to modulate gene expression. Simply put, how do changes in the physical microenvironment drive cancer progression?  3D culture models can approximate in vivo architecture and signaling cues, allowing for real time characterization of cell-ECM dynamics. We developed tissue mimetics that recreate the complex in vivo geometries while independently controlling bulk stiffness and ECM ligand density. We also developed tools that allow us to resolve and quantitate minute forces that cells sense in the local environment (on the order of microns) within thick tissue (in mm). Using these methods, we are able to dissect the contributions of the physical properties from those due to chemical properties on cell fate as it relates to malignancy and normal tissue homeostasis. Finally, we validated our in vitro findings in an in vivo model using zebrafish as our model for metastasis.


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