Dr Nuria Gavara
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Previous Funded Research Projects
Start: 01-10-2017 / End: 30-09-2021
The overall objective of the proposed project is to understand how forces are transmitted from the external environment to the nucleus and to determine the subsequent effects on nuclear structure, gene expression, and cell function within the epidermis of the skin. We will use advanced biophysical and imaging techniques to apply forces to single cells, and systems biology methodologies to analyse the changes in DNA structure and gene expression. In addition, we will test the role of internal cellular structures, such as the cytoskeleton, to gain mechanistic insight into these processes. Finally, we will investigate the influence of nuclear mechano-sensing in more complex 3D models of human skin. This is a collaboration with Dr John Connelly (PI)
Start: 01-09-2015 / End: 31-08-2020
The aim of this project is to study force transmisison within the cochlea as it is mechanically stimulated by sound. This programme grant is lead by Brighton U. and features a combination of experimental approaches and novel modelling analysis. Our lab uses AFM to mechanically characterize speciallized cells in the cochlea, so that mechanical parameters can be fed into new models.
Start: 01-01-2017 / End: 31-12-2019
Mechno-regulation of genome function to direct stem cell rate
Start: 01-04-2016 / End: 30-09-2017
Effect of cell age on cell migration and cytoskeletal reorganization
Start: 01-05-2014 / End: 30-04-2017
Use cytoskeletal morphometrics to characterize cell function, behaviour and pathologies
Previous PhD Studentship Projects
Start: 01-10-2017 / End: 30-09-2021
The project explores the generation of novel genepin-crosslinked gelatin matrices for stem cell differentiation. We are particularly interested in tunning their viscoelastic properties to direct cell differentation towards osteogenic and adipogenic precursors
Start: 01-10-2018 / End: 30-09-2021
We will explore how we can use cytoskeletal morphologies and cellular mechanics as a reliable biomarker of cancer-associated fibroblast activation. At later stages, we will test whether this biomarkers can be used as readout for drug screens to target the activated stroma of cancerous tissue.
Start: 01-10-2016 / End: 30-09-2019
The project aims to determine the regulation of nuclear mechanics by the cytoskeleton and specifically, the impact of mechanical stimuli on nuclear architecture and chromatin.
Start: 01-09-2015 / End: 01-09-2019
We aim to characterize how the cytoskeleton and ERM proteins polarize their intracellular localization as main driver for directed bleb-based cell migration in cancer cells
Start: 01-01-2015 / End: 31-12-2017
The project aims at establishing optimal mechanical loading protocols to induce stem cell differentiation, combined with simultaneous real-time tracking of the differentiation process.
Start: 01-12-2013 / End: 01-07-2017
During differentiation, mesenchymal stem cells lose their fibroblast-like shape to adopt a lineage- specific cellular morphology. The project aims at using cytoskeletal morphology as a fast real-time biomarker of the differentiation process.
Other Research Projects
This project addresses the concept that the nucleus acts as a sensor for mechanical stimuli. By characterising biophysical and epigenetic changes as stem cells differentiate, we will identify pathways responsible for the alteration of cellular mechanosensitivity. These can then be targeted to repair defective mechanosensitivity in diseased or aged cells.
Cellular elasticity is routinely used as a biomarker because it readily reflects the cellular composition and internal structure of cells. We aim at establishing AFM-based protocols to obtain 3D maps of the cell’s mechanical properties and correlate them with cytoskeletal organization and composition.