Controlling cell adhesion to functionalized surfaces

Background

Spatial control of cell adhesion is essential in cell communication and regulation, and is of fundamental importance in the development and maintenance of tissues. To capture the spatial complexity of the extracellular environment, microcontact printing has proven to be a useful tool to systematically study the interaction between the cellular response and the environment at the cellular scale. The basic principle of microcontact printing is to create micron-sized cell adhesive and cell repellent regions on flat substrates by controlling the spatial arrangement of surface chemical and physical properties. In this way it restricts cell adhesion to specific regions and has enabled numerous studies illuminating mechanisms by which cell adhesion was geometrically controlled to regulate cell functions.

Objective

  1. This project will focus on microcontact printing and the effects of various cell repellent agents on cell adhesion. In this study two different types of flat surfaces will be treated with either PLL-g-PEG or Pluronic F127. The cells and its adhesions will be determined by staining the structural components of the cell and these will be visualized using a fluorescence microscope.  
  2. The second project will focus on the effects of cell contractility on the cellular response. In this study cells will be treated with a contractility (Rock) inhibitor for several durations and at various time points. The cells and its adhesions will be determined by staining the structural components of the cell and these will be visualized using a fluorescence microscope.