Extracellular matrix determinants of cell migration mode

image - top.jpg

Micropatterned ECM screening array for studying how adhesive cues regulate fibroblast migration.  

Cell migration plays an essential role in development, tissue homeostasis, and cancer metastasis. Although historically studied on flat rigid surfaces, it is now appreciated that within tissues, ECM structure and mechanics critically define a diversity of cell migration strategies and underlying mechanisms. To better understand how physical properties of the ECM influence cell migration, our group integrates microfabricated devices with synthetic biomaterials to create 3D fibrous microenvironments that recapitulate physiologic settings while enabling mechanistic studies. With the use of 3D timelapse imaging and molecular reporters, we employ these in vitro platforms in studying how (1) collective endothelial cell sprouting is orchestrated during angiogenesis, (2) fibroblasts are recruited to fibrotic tissues or wound sites, and (3) cancer cells disseminate through fibrillar tumor stroma in order to metastasize.

We study single cell migration through fibrous matrices and multicellular migration during angiogenesis.

Relevant publications:
Functional angiogenesis requires microenvironmental cues balancing endothelial cell migration and proliferation
Wang WY, Lin D, Jarman EH, Polacheck WJ, Baker BM.
Lab on a Chip, 2020, 20: 1153-1166.
Actomyosin contractility-dependent matrix stretch and recoil induces rapid cell migration
Wang WY, Davidson CD, Lin D, Baker BM.
Nature Communications, 2019, 10(1):1186.

Extracellular matrix alignment dictates the organization of focal adhesions and directs uniaxial cell migration

Wang WY, Pearson AT, Kutys ML, Choi CK, Wozniak MA, Baker BM, Chen CS.
APL Bioengineering, 2018, 2(4):046107.

Matrix degradability controls multicellularity of 3D cell migration 
Trappmann B*, Baker BM*, Polacheck WJ, Choi CK, Burdick JA, Chen CS.  * authors contributed equally. .
Nature Communications, 2017, 8(1):371.