Institute for the Physics of Living Systems


IPLS/BioP Seminar: Dr. Alba Diz-Muñoz (EMBL Heidelberg)

04 December 2019, 11:00 am–12:00 pm

Alba Diz-Muñoz

Title: Cell and ECM mechanics for pluripotency and survival

Event Information

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2nd Floor Seminar Room (2.30), LMCB
MRC Building
Gower Street

Abstract: Cells are now broadly appreciated to be mechanical as well as biochemical systems. They generate, transmit, and respond to forces through an intricate network of mechanical components, resulting in cell movement and shape change, as well as altered signalling, modulated expression, and even genomic damage. Contributions to cell mechanics from molecular motors, cytoskeletal filaments, and mechanosensitive proteins have received significant attention, and the cell surface – comprising the plasma membrane and underlying cortical cytoskeleton – has emerged as a unique mechanical system capable of exerting both local and global control of cell form and function. The physical properties of the cell surface can be rapidly modulated, enabling cells to generate or accommodate changes in shape and behaviour. Nevertheless, we are only beginning to understand how physical forces drive cell behaviour and signalling.

My group is taking an engineering-inspired approach, combined with traditional cell biology methods, to reveal how physical forces regulate biochemical signalling that contribute to a plethora of cell behaviours. In this talk I will discuss our recent findings on the role of cell surface mechanics for mESC exit from pluripotency and discuss our efforts to understand how tissue stiffness affects the therapeutic outcome of metastatic colorectal cancer.

About the Speaker

Dr. Alba Diz-Muñoz

at EMBL Heidelberg

More about Dr. Alba Diz-Muñoz