Senior Thesis Presentation
Thursday, May 28, 2015 - 08:00
Yunker Liberary
Event Speaker: 
Emma Krnacik
Local Contact: 
Bo Sun

Honor's Thesis: Exploring and quantifying the parameters regarding contact guidance may
provide valuable insight to the precise mechanisms controlling cell movement, especially
in a three-dimensional environment. The objective of this project was to quantify
the relationship between MDA-MB-231 cell morphogenesis and the geometry of the
cell’s local microenvironment, which was modeled by collagen networks of varying
degrees of organization. Specifically, a non-linear correlation was found between the
aspect ratio of the cell and the misalignment angle between average cellular and local
fiber direction. This relationship was modeled by a power law function, which is
proposed to be indicative of a cellular feedback mechanism between morphogenesis in
MDA-MB-231 cells and fiber organization. Furthermore, using confocal
immunofluorescence imaging the presence of proteins known to be critically involved in
mechanosensing (specifically, actin and vinculin) was observed in cells exhibiting
contact guidance in a three-dimensional network, suggesting molecular similarities in the
processes of mechanosensing and geometry sensing.