Imaging is central to the group’s quest to develop predictive models of dynamic cellular processes.
All cells in a body contain exactly the same genetic information. Yet cells have the ability to transform into different functional states and organise into diverse tissues, resulting in organs as different as brains and hearts. Essential to these transformations is the cell’s ability to change form and architecture. These dynamic morphological changes allow hearts to beat or cancer cells to migrate and spread. Advanced imaging technology provides one platform for visualising the principles that make these cellular dynamics possible. To date, this has included electron and confocal microscopy, along with time-lapse techniques and the use of image data to train machine intelligence to scan large datasets for underlying patterns. We are also building capacity with new and emerging platforms for functional measurements of cell physiology and mechanobiology. Of particular interest are microfluidics methods that provide insights into the mechanical properties of cells and fluorescent methods relating to chemical signalling.
This work involves both external collaborations and the establishment of a dedicated in-house wet laboratory in collaboration with Dr Kathryn Stok, who leads the Integrated Cartilage Research Group.