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Microenvironmental effects on cancer progression

Primary Investigators:
Cynthia Reinhart-King
 
Brief Description of Project:
The extracellular matrix is a complex three-dimensional network or interconnected cell-scale fibers and pores that serve to direct tissue morphogenesis. Moreover, the extracellular matrix provides a dynamic and bioactive structure that directs cell behavior through chemical and mechanical signals. The Reinhart-King lab investigates how cells integrate extracellular signals and translate them into normal or diseased behaviors. We utilize a multidisciplinary approach, integrating principles from engineering, cell and molecular biology, biophysics, and biomaterial science to understand and control cell function, tissue formation, and disease progression. Specifically, we apply these approaches to better understand the influence of mechanical cues from the extracellular matrix on cancer progression.

Desired Qualifications:
Highly motivated students interested in research with some background in general biology. Wet laboratory skills and some experience with cell culture techniques is beneficial but not required.
 
Nature of Supervision:
Biweekly individual meetings with PI and biweekly lab group meetings. Day-to-day supervision and mentoring will be provided by a graduate student working in the lab.
 
A Brief Research Plan (period is for 10 weeks):
Students will be involved in the development of three-dimensional models and applying these models to study cell function. Students will learn cell culture techniques as well as to perform cytochemical assays and microscopy. These techniques will be applied to investigate biological questions of interest.
 
Number of Open Slots: 3
 
Contact Information:
Name: Samantha Schwager
Title: Graduate Student
Department: Biomedical Engineering
Email: samantha.schwager@vanderbilt.edu