Project 2

Physical and Chemical Cues in Tumor Cell Migration


  • Cynthia Reinhart-King
    Project Leader — Biomedical Engineering, Cornell-Ithaca
  • Evi Giannakakou
    Project Co-Leader — Hematology and Oncology, Weill Cornell
  • Itai Cohen
    Department of Physics, Cornell-Ithaca
  • David Erickson
    Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell-Ithaca
  • Sandra Shin, MD
    Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Weill Cornell
  • Melody Swartz
    Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne(EPFL)
  • Rebecca Williams
    Biomedical Engineering, Cornell-Ithaca
  • Mingming Wu
    Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell-Ithaca
  • Andrew Yen
    Biomedical Sciences, Cornell-Ithaca

This project is focused on understanding how chemical and mechanical forces in the tumor microenvironment enable and enhance cell migration during metastasis.  Migration is a fundamentally physical process characterized by the coordinated movement of cells through the matrix, dominated by chemical and mechanical gradients within the microenvironment.  We bring to bear a multidisciplinary approach to exert exacting control over the mechanics and chemistry of the microenvironment to study cancer cell migration as a function of chemical gradients and matrix stiffness mimicking the tumor environment.  We propose to utilize our strengths in micro- and nano-fabrication and high-resolution 3D imaging to create tumor-mimicking microenvironments and monitor cell migration in real time.  Our results will answer the questions: (i) What are the key extracellular physicochemical attributes that contribute to aggressiveness and tumor cell migration? And (ii) Does the tumor microenvironment contribute to decreased cell-sensitivity to chemotherapeutics during relapse?