Master student

Hydrogel-based scaffolds for in vitro characterization of tumor heterogeneity.


Supervisors: Dr. Aldo Leal-Egana, Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Aldo R. Boccaccini

Traditionally, cancer cells are tested on 2D flat surfaces. However, recent advances in mechano and topobiology have shown that cells react differently when cultured in 3D milieus, due to the high mechanic and metabolic stress involved [1]. This master thesis will be focused on comparing the behavior of cancer cells cultured on 2D (flat) surfaces and those entrapped within 3D tumor-like scaffolds, in terms of migration, morphology exertion of traction forces, and invasiveness, among other factors [2]. The main aim of this research is thus to create a new polymer-based platform for improving clinical analysis, including studies of cell heterogeneity, as well as sensitivity to chemotherapeutic drugs.

[1] Leal-Egana A., Balland M., Boccaccini A.R. (2019). Re-engineering Artificial Neoplastic Milieus: Taking Lessons from Mechano- and Topobiology. Trends in Biotechnology. In the press.

[2] Leal-Egaña A, Letort G, Martiel JL, Christ A, Vignaud T, Roelants C, Filhol O, Théry M. (2017). The size-speed-force relationship governs migratory cell response to tumorigenic factors. Mol Biol Cell. 28:1612-1621.


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