In vivo analysis of the impact of complex extracellular environments on cell migration

Year of award: 2016


  • Dr Thomas Millard

    University of Manchester

Project summary

The extracellular environment through which cells migrate in vivo is extremely complicated and varies greatly in its chemical, spatial and mechanical properties. Understanding how the characteristics of the environment affect cell migration in vivo would be a major step towards the development of therapies to target specific migratory processes.

We aim to establish Drosophila embryonic haemocytes as a model for studying the impact of the extracellular environment on cell migration in vivo. We will use a combination of 4D light-sheet microscopy, automated tracking and genetic manipulation to determine how the spatial environment in a Drosophila embryo influences the migratory behaviour of haemocytes. We will also determine how haemocytes adapt their migratory mechanisms to move through extracellular spaces of different size and geometry.

The techniques established in this project will be used in a bigger study in which we will investigate chemical, spatial and mechanical aspects of the environment in parallel to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the impact of the extracellular environment on cell migration.