Title: The “hard” and “rough” life of cells
Cells in vivo encounter a multitude of environment cues from the surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM). Both the mechanical stiffness and nanotopographical features of the ECM are known to impose strong influence on cellular function and play important roles the development of normal tissues and organs. Abnormal changes in ECM are found to accompany the progression of many diseases including cancer. Hence, it is important to study how cells sense and respond to the mechanical properties (“hardness”) and nanotopographies (“roughness”) of the ECM. In this talk, I will demonstrate our recent results on comparing the response of metastatic cancer cells to that of normal cells. I will also discuss possible mechanisms by which a cell can probe the stiffness and nanotopography of its surroundings.