Effect of substrate elasticity on the physiology of invasive and non-invasive breast cancer cell lines
Greece (HelMSIC) - University of Crete, Heraklion
Department of Basic Sciences, laboratory of Biochemistry, School of Medicine
P.A. Theodoropoulos, Assoc. Prof. of Biochemistry
Hara Polioudaki, PhD; Rena Chiotaki, PhD
6 weeks
Cities/Months Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Augt Sep Oct Nov Dec
No No No No Yes No No No No No No No
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
The response of cancer cells to their extracellular matrix (ECM) rigidity, determines their proliferation, differentiation, morphology, cell spreading and motility. Mechanical cues from the tumor microenvironment orchestrate tumor initiation, progression and metastasis. The growth properties of cancer cell lines in response to substrate rigidity could be dependent on their genetic background and differentiation status and reflect their metastatic capability.

We aim to compare the response of non-invasive and invasive breast cancer cell lines to polyacrylamide substrates of variable elasticity in terms of cell proliferation, cell adhesion and spreading, cytoskeleton organization, EMT status and nuclear shape dynamics.

Teqniques such as the following will be used:
-Ex vivo culture of invasive and non-invasive breast cancer cell lines
-Multi labeling immunofluorescence
-Confocal microscopy imaging
-Cell proliferation assay
-Preparation of polyacrylamide substrates with tunable elasticity
-Use of the ImageJ analysis software
What is the aim of the project?
What techniques and methods are used?
What is the role of the student?
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
Cultivation techiques and data analysis
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
Yes, if needed
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- No specific outcome is expected
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
The student should have an excellent knowledge of the English language and a basic knowledge of cellular biology and biochemistry. Also, basic computer skills are obligatory.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts:
- Medical students
- Graduated students (less than 6 months)
- Matrix rigidity regulates cancer cell growth and cellular phenotype. Tilghman et al. (2010) PLoS ONE
- Substrate stiffness regulates solubility of cellular vimentin. Murray et al. (2014) MBoC
- Matrix elasticity directs stem cell lineage specification. Engler et al. (2006) Cell
- Differential nuclear shape dynamics of invasive and non invasive breast cancer cells are associated with actin cytoskeleton organization and stability. Chiotaki et al. (2014) Biochem. Cell Biol