Formation of extracellular matrix
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Formation of extracellular matrix and the impact of the local environment
Through their cytoskeleton, cells are connected physically and biochemically to their external environment. This provides them with the ability to sense and actively interact with their local environment. The extracellular matrix (ECM) that is build by the cells is part of this environment, influences cell behaviour in a regulatory manner, but also defines the structure's macroscopic mechanical properties.
The focus of this project is to understand how cells in a 3D matrix respond to mechanical stimulation in terms of intracellular structure organization (actin, microtubules) and extracellular structural organization (production of ECM, more precisely collagen, elastin and fibronectin).
The goal is to get an insight into the cell's blueprint for building load bearing structures and the adaptation of cellular processes as a response to changes of the local mechanical environment.