The group Cytoskeletal Fibers investigates the unique properties and role of cytoskeletal components (actin fibers and intermediate filaments) on cellular functions such as migration. They investigate in particular how the cytoskeleton adapts when cells contact particular interfaces, or when they are placed in specific environments. In nature, these interfaces and environments differ in their chemical composition, adhesiveness, and in their physical properties such as compliance or geometry. These changes are ubiquitous in the natural tissues that immune or cancer cells need to cross to reach their target position. The lab recreates and biologically validates such natural cellular behavior in engineered interfaces and environments.
The figure shows a fluorescent microscopy image of polymers in cells called the cytoskeleton. It is responsible for the form or dynamics of cells, but also determines their mechanical properties. Green: vimentin, blue: nucleus.