Professor John Evans is employing BioImprinting, using cured polymer moulds of biological cells, in collaboration with Professor Maan Alkaisi, to study the link between mechanical forces imparted on cells by their neighbours and cancer development.
He and his team had developed the method to improve imaging of pituitary cells by Atomic Force Microscopy. This approach enables novel clinical questions regarding drug responsiveness to be studied. Other studies of the interactions between nano- and micro-patterned surfaces enable the effect of the external chemico-physical environment on cell function to be delineated.
Their collaboration allows them to ask entirely novel questions that are not accessible to other groups. The understanding derived from these studies is expected to impact on the development of artificial tissues and implants and the control of tumorigenicity of cells.
We are examining the effects of micro- and nano-environment on cell growth and the result of mechanical forces on the cells which produce signals that regulate genetic expression.
The studies take the form of developing bioimprints of cultured cells and then placing cell types or cell lines on the substrates that are produced. The types of growths that eventuate will be determined (proliferation rate, location, clustering, apoptosis, protein expression, gene expression).
Studies will be performed with cancer and pituitary cells. In the cancers we are also studying the effects of hypoxia on the production of angiogenic and other factors. These cells also allow us to grow 3-D mirotumours as cell clusters which provide a further approach to understanding the effects of structural forces.
Our collaboration allows us to ask entirely novel questions that are not accessible to other groups.Professor John Evans