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Dr. John Connelly, Biophysical regulation of epidermal cell fate in engineered microenvironments

Dr.  John Connelly
Dr. John Connelly

Date: Wed 17 Jul 2013, 15:00 - 16:00

Location: SEMS Seminar Room (3rd Floor of the Engineering Building)

Dr. John Connelly, Centre for Cutaneous Research, Blizard Institute, Queen Mary, University of London

SEMS/IoB Seminar Series
Coffee/tea/biscuits provided after the seminar

The epidermis of the skin provides an essential barrier from the external environment and is continually regenerated throughout adult life. To better understand the role of biophysical cues on keratinocyte cell behaviour, we have developed various engineered model systems, which allow us to precisely control the adhesive and mechanical signals presented to cells in vitro.
Using micro-patterned collagen surfaces, we determined that cell shape, the actin cytoskeleton, and the transcription factor serum response factor (SRF) are key regulators of terminal differentiation in human keratinocytes.
In addition, recent studies in our laboratory have begun to examine the influences of matrix elasticity on proliferation, terminal differentiation, and EGF signalling in human keratinocytes. We have also developed new migration and polarisation assays using photo-activated, polymer brushes, which allow us to examine the response of cells to dynamic changes in their microenvironment.
Together, these studies highlight the importance of the physical environment in regulating basic cellular functions and identified key signalling pathways involved in keratinocyte mechanotransduction.

Updated by: Jonathon Hills