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Our lab - the cell biophysics group in the physics department at OSU is mainly interested in understanding the physics principle of cellular information flow and how that drives the self-organization of of mammalian cellular systems.
I will give a brief review of the projects currently running by graduate students and undergraduate students in two directions: mechanosensing and chemosensing. For mechanosensing, we study the extracellularmatrix - mediated cell-cell communications in type-I collagen gel. Unlike what is is widely believed in biomedical engineering, developmental biology and cancer research, we found type-I collagen can form distinct polymer network structures within physiological conditions. We apply confocal microscopy to characterize the gel microstructure, and use holographic optical tweezers to characterize its microrheology (collaborate with Prof. McIntyre) . We also work on pattern recognition algorithms necessary to develop a fiber traction force microscopy (FTFM), FTFM allows us to measure the intercellular mechanical interactions in 2D and 3D cultures. These measurements will shine light to the self-organized collective migration and cancer invasion.
For chemosensing, we have established before that a mammalian cell colony self-organized into critical point with percolation behaviors during chemosensing. To further understand the information capacity of single cells and communicating cell colonies, we develop microfluidics devices to study calcium dynamics of model cell lines which have cross-talking signaling pathways. These experiments will allow us to construct biophysical models to explain the coding strategy of multiplexed chemosensing at single cell and multicellular levels.