Mechanobiology of Epithelia from the Extracellular Matrix Perspective
Epithelia have a fundamental role in delimiting organs and cavities, being crucial for barrier function, development, and homeostasis of organs. These highly specialized features result from a collective cell behaviour that emerges through mechanical and biochemical communication between the single cells and their extracellular matrix (ECM). My research aims to understand this interplay using mechanobiological methods in combination with nanoengineered hydrogels.
My talk will give first an overview of published work1,2 on understanding how ECM physical and biochemical cues impact epithelial system properties, namely stress heterogeneity and intercellular force coordination. I will show that these properties play pivotal roles in controlling collective cell behaviour with leader cell formation and migration rate. Finally, I will show data from the ongoing investigation in the retina, where we suggest that ECM heterogeneity directly controls the force balance in the epithelium and, consequently, its homeostasis.
Hybrid seminar in Amphitheatre Marie Curie (sanitary pass required) and on TEAMS
DWI, Aachen, Germany