The two main mechanical properties of cells, the cellular contractile force and cellular stiffness have been found to differ between metastasising and normal cells. It is therefore likely that the defective mechanical properties of tumour cells promote cell proliferation and metastasis.
I aim to clarify the biochemical, molecular mechanisms that control the mechanical properties of cells, in relation to cancer. Because advanced techniques, such as colloidal probe atomic force microscopy, traction force microscopy and super resolution STED microscopy are used to analyse cell mechanics and adhesion, these studies are performed in close collaborations with researchers in the areas of Biophysics, Theoretical Physics and Surface Chemistry.
The potential effects of mechanical cues on cell behaviour have been greatly overlooked in the past, hence, studies of the mechanical properties of cells can significantly increase our understanding of the control of cell behaviour. In the long term, the increased knowledge about how the mechanical properties differ between healthy and metastasising cells could result in the development of a novel, mechano-based class of methods for diagnosis and treatment for cancer.