Mechanical drivers of cell fate in early mammalian development


  • Ms Marta Urbanska

    University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Project summary

During early embryonic development, initially identical cells become specialised and undergo spatial rearrangements that are crucial for the future viability of the foetus. How physical factors complement molecular signals to coordinate this incredibly complex process remains elusive. My aim is to understand how physical properties of cells influence their transitions towards distinct cell types during early mammalian development. To address this aim, I will use a three-dimensional model system that mimics early developmental processes occurring in the mouse embryo. Using advanced microscopy techniques and biophysical characterisation approaches, I will trace shape and physical properties of individual cells while they transition towards distinct cellular identities. Finally, I will alter mechanical properties of cells and monitor how these alterations influence developmental processes in my model system. This work will shed light on the contribution of physical features of cells to developmental processes in the mammalian embryo.