Elucidating the role of matrix stiffness

14 Dec

Another project Zustiak is working on is the role of integrin adhesions on cancer cell responsiveness to anticancer drugs.The aim of this project is to isolate the effect of integrin presentation (by precisely controlling the concentration and type of integrin binding sites) from other matrix properties (such as stiffness) and assess its impact on the responsiveness of cancer cells to anticancer drugs.This research is highly multidisciplinary, merging the fields of engineering, materials science, and biology.Research Projects Decoupling key cell-matrix interactions that affect cancer cell responsiveness to anticancer drugs in bioengineered 2D extracellular matrix.

It has been shown that cellular migration, persistence, and associated cytoskeletal arrangement are highly dependent on substrate stiffness (modulus: N/m(2) and independent of geometry), but little is known on how cells respond to subtle changes in local geometry and structural stiffness (N/m).

by altering cytoskeletal tension or integrin expression).

Zustiak is also studying the role of matrix stiffness on cancer cell responsiveness to anticancer drugs.

Zustiak’s primary research interests are in hydrogel biomaterials and tissue engineering, with emphasis on developing novel biomaterials as cell scaffolds and drug screening platforms, and elucidating matrix structure-property relationships as well as cell-matrix interactions.

Biomaterial-based models are crucial for bridging the gap between traditional tissue culture and animal models by providing a cell environment that closely mimics real tissue.