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Austin Naylor MS defense

Austin Naylor MS defense

Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at 10:00 am
Austin Naylor

Quantifying ECM micromechanical remodeling by an invading tumor

Tumors are known to remodel the local extracellular matrix (ECM) in which
they live. This remodeling causes the stiffness of the ECM to change, and is a
major footprint in diagnosing tumors, specifically metastatic solid tumors such as
breast or brain tumors. However, most studies up to date conduct bulk rheology
or macroscopic rigidity experiments on the remodeled ECM. By using optical
tweezers based assays, we are able to probe the local remodeling of the ECM
and measure the local micromechanics as the tumor continuously expands and
invades into the surrounding ECM. We find that the tumor can introduce strong
mechanical anisotropy as well as stiffen the ECM. We find that these remodelings
are spatially and temporally dependent on the tumor invasion dynamics. We
hypothesize that the found remodelings are dominated by two factors, the volume
preservation of cells and the traction force generated by cells. We also test our
results by using different geometries of tumors.

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