Biophysics of Cancer
This stream will investigate how mechanics of tissue can influence the development of non-malignant nevus into melanoma/the deadliest type of skin cancer. Cells can sense the physical cues of their microenvironment by means of intramembrane proteins called integrins/leading to activation of downstream signaling pathways that can alter cell proliferation/migration and differentiation. Mechanical stimuli can also affect the secretion of proteins that alter the physical properties of the microenvironment/leading to a recursive mechanobiological feedback loop. Students will analyze the mechanics of the extracellular matrix of murine melanoma at different stages of disease using microrheology/a technique that measures the mechanical properties of materials by following the trajectory of micron-sized beads.