Institute for the Physics of Living Systems


Guillaume Salbreux awarded £2m grant to explore the physics of cancer

6 June 2019


The funded proposal “Stochastic fluctuations during mammary development and breast cancer morphogenesis” is a collaborative project involving a theoretical physicist (Guillaume Salbreux, UCL IPLS and Crick), a physicist expert in photonics (Chris Dunsby, Imperial College) and a stem cell biologist (Axel Behrens, Crick). The project will explore how organoid shape variability results from fundamental stochastic biological processes, in healthy and cancerous mammary gland organoids. The joint expertise of the 3 teams will be used to bridge the gap between organoid biology and physics of non-equilibrium systems. It will rely on the generation of suitable mouse models, a bespoke microscope required to image breast cancer organoids at single cell resolution in multi-well plates, and expertise in theoretical physics to understand the interplay of mechanical forces and cell fate decision in determining the shape and organisation of tissues.

This UKRI call is led by EPSRC, with support from Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Medical Research Council (MRC).

Eight projects received a total of £14.5M from the Building Collaboration at the Physics of Life Interface fund.