Biomechanical imaging of cells, extracellular matrix, and cancer invasion in 3D
Sculpting of structure and function of three-dimensional multicellular tissues depend critically on the spatial and temporal coordination of cellular physical properties. Yet the organizational principles that govern these events, and their disruption in disease, remain poorly understood. Here, I will introduce several of our recent work in understanding cell and extracellular matrix (ECM) mechanics, as well as their mechanical interactions in 3D. I will then focus on discussing a recent progress to map the spatial and temporal evolution of positions, motions, and physical characteristics of individual cells throughout a growing mammary cancer model. Compared with cells in the tumor core, cells at the tumor periphery and the invasive front are found to be systematically softer, larger and more dynamic. These mechanical changes are shown to arise from supracellular fluid flow through gap junctions, suppression of which delays transition to an invasive phenotype. Together, these findings highlight the role of spatiotemporal coordination of cellular physical properties in tissue organization and disease progression. If time allows, I will also discuss our recent progress in demonstrating impact of cell mechanics in cell and tissue biological functions.
Ming Guo is currently an associate professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Physics of Living Systems Center at MIT, where he holds class ’54 career development professorship. Before joining MIT in 2015, Ming obtained his PhD in 2014 in Applied Physics, and MS in 2012 in Mechanical Engineering at Harvard University, and BS in Engineering Mechanics in Tsinghua University. Ming is a Alfred Sloan Fellow in Physics.