Nano-Structural Basis for Mechanical Fibroblast-Cardiomyocyte Cross-Talk

Project Summary

This project explores spatiotemporal dynamics of cell-to-cell and cell-to-ECM links, using models from simplified cell culture systems to cardiac tissue. Novel live cell optical super-resolution and fixed cell 3D electron microscopy techniques will be used in P11 to visualise key molecular structures postulated to be involved in fibrotic remodelling such as collagen, tunnelling nanotubes, and cell surface proteins (incl. integrins and gap junction proteins). In addition, we will employ optical tweezers and thermal noise tracking, to estimate the binding strength between those structures during the process of ECM formation. Pharmacological and genetic interventions will be tested for their utility for modulating specific modes of cell attachment, both in healthy and lesioned myocardium, to identify potential intervention targets that may modulate scar properties.