“Cell mechanical phenotype in cancer: from screening cells to disease biophysics” by Amy Rowat (University of California, Los Angeles)

Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

Thursdays, 4:00-5:00 pm

1-434 Physics and Astronomy (map)
Reception from 3:30-4:00 p.m.
(unless otherwise posted)

Guest Speaker: Amy Rowat (University of California, Los Angeles)

Talk Title:  “Cell mechanical phenotype in cancer: from screening cells to disease biophysics”



Cell mechanical phenotype, or ‘mechanotype’, determines how physical forces are transduced into the cell, and can also signal a transformation in a cell’s physiological state, such as in malignant transformation. If we could obtain higher throughput measurements of cell mechanotype, this would enable a deeper understanding of the molecular origins of cell mechanical properties, as well as screening based on mechanotype. To address these needs, we have used insights from physics to develop a mechanotyping platform that enables us to extract measurements of single cell elastic modulus and fluidity, and to screen cells based on their mechanotype. I will discuss how we are applying our fluidic-based deformability methods to develop a deeper understanding of cell mechanotype in cancer progression. One example application is our discovery that stress hormones, which promote metastasis in mice, also elicit changes in cell mechanical properties: we find that breast cancer cells treated with isoproterenol become stiffer due to actin remodeling, myosin II activity, and increased calcium. Using assays to measure cell invasion through in vitro protein networks, we also discovered that these stiffer isoproterenol-treated breast cancer cells are more invasive. Taken together, our results provide insight into how the mechanical phenotype of cancer cells is associated with their functional behavior.

For more information, contact Jay Hauser

We thank the following people for their contributions to the wine fund for the post-colloquium reception:
Prof. Dolores Bozovic, Prof. Robijn Bruinsma, Prof. Wesley Campbell, Prof. Bob Cousins, Prof. Jay Hauser, Prof. Eric Hudson, Robert Huff, Prof. HongWen Jiang, Prof. Alex Kusenko, Prof. John Miao, Prof. George Morales, Prof. Pietro Musumeci, Prof. Christoph Niemann, Prof. Rene Ong, Prof. James Rosenzweig, Prof. David Saltzberg, and Prof. Jean Turner.


1-434 PAB