Research Projects

Our group is interested in developing approaches to measure mechanical forces at the cellular level, and to understand how these forces regulate cellular homeostasis.

Nuclear confinement

Nuclear linc complex

The nuclear LINC complex connects the cytoplasmic cytoskeleton to the nuclear lamina and is thought to be a critical structure for nuclear positioning and mechanotransduction. Our group has demonstrated that the actin-connected LINC protein Nesprin-2G experiences tensile forces (Arsenovic, Biophys J, 2016). Furthermore these forces are dependent on actomyosin contractility and cell shape. We are currently investigating how LINC complex forces are regulated and how these forces are transduced inside the nucleus.

Förster resonance energy transfer

cell-cell junctions

We have shown that both VE-cadherin and PECAM-1 are subject to mechanical tension in endothelial cells (Conway, Current Biology, 2013). Changes in forces across both proteins are necessary for mechanotransduction of fluid shear stress by endothelial cells.

More recently we have begun working with epithelial cells to assess the role of E-cadherin forces in regulation of cell proliferation as well as epithelial acini homeostasis.