Angiogenesis and Immunomechanics
Healing begins with the self-organisation of cells in the wound to reestablish structured tissue and restore the mechanical stability and intrinsic pretension of the injured matrix lost through the injury. Our aim is to decipher this independent organisation of fibroblasts, vascular precursors, immune cells and mechanical instability in the complex environment of the tissue. A better understanding of this interplay forms the basis for novel therapeutic approaches in musculoskeletal regeneration.
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Mechanical influences on cellular and extracellular organisation
Cells in our body are embedded in a structural network of extracellular matrix (ECM). The ECM not only supports the cells structurally and mechanically, but also plays a decisive role in essential cell functions such as differentiation, migration and contraction. It influences stem cell differentiation (fate) and is essential for structural adaptations during regular tissue homeostasis. Abnormal changes in tissue properties are characteristic for different stages of cancer development and fibrosis. It is the cells themselves that cause ("write") these changes in the mechanical properties of the matrix - but it is also cells that "read" these mechanical tissue properties and then change their behaviour in response. The underlying mechanisms of these ECM-cell interactions are largely unclear, both in which areas tissue properties are physiological and when they actually have pathological consequences. Until now, it has not been possible to detect and quantify this cell-matrix mechanics in order to derive diagnostics or even therapy from this understanding. Viola Vogel has developed a technology that allows to determine the mechanics between cell and matrix. Within the framework of the Einstein-Fellowship, we apply this technology to clinical samples in order to gain the necessary basic understanding and to lay the foundations for advanced diagnostics in mechano-biology.