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Mechanical control of biological function

Objective

Mechanical forces transmitted through specific molecular bonds drive biological function, and their understanding and control hold an uncharted potential in oncology, regenerative medicine and biomaterial design. However, this potential has not been realised, because it requires developing and integrating disparate technologies to measure and manipulate mechanical and adhesive properties from the nanometre to the metre scale. We propose to address this challenge by building an interdisciplinary research community with the aim of understanding and controlling cellular mechanics from the molecular to the organism scale. At the nanometric molecular level, we will develop cellular microenvironments enabled by peptidomimetics of cell-cell and cell-matrix ligands, with defined mechanical and adhesive properties that we will dynamically control in time and space trough photo-activation. The properties under force of the molecular bonds involved will be characterized using single-molecule atomic force microscopy and magnetic tweezers. At the cell-to-organ scale, we will combine controlled microenvironments and interfering strategies with the development of techniques to measure and control mechanical forces and adhesion in cells and tissues, and to evaluate their biological response. At the organism scale, we will establish how cellular mechanics can be controlled, by targeting specific adhesive interactions, to impair or abrogate breast tumour progression in a mouse model. At all stages and scales of the project, we will integrate experimental data with multi-scale computational modelling to establish the rules driving biological response to mechanics and adhesion. With this approach, we aim to develop specific therapeutic approaches beyond the current paradigm in breast cancer treatment. Beyond breast cancer, the general principles targeted by our technology will have high applicability in oncology, regenerative medicine and biomaterials.

Call for proposal

FETPROACT-2016
See other projects for this call

Coordinator

FUNDACIO INSTITUT DE BIOENGINYERIA DE CATALUNYA
Address
Carrer Baldiri Reixac Planta 2A 10-12
08028 Barcelona
Spain
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 1 952 419,59

Participants (6)

UNIVERSITAT POLITECNICA DE CATALUNYA
Spain
EU contribution
€ 638 000
Address
Calle Jordi Girona 31
08034 Barcelona
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
LEIBNIZ-INSTITUT FUER NEUE MATERIALIEN GEMEINNUETZIGE GMBH
Germany
EU contribution
€ 829 567,32
Address
Campus D2 2
66123 Saarbruecken
Activity type
Research Organisations
KING'S COLLEGE LONDON
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 706 715
Address
Strand
WC2R 2LS London
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UNIVERSITAIR MEDISCH CENTRUM UTRECHT
Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 2 424 950
Address
Heidelberglaan 100
3584 CX Utrecht
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
MIND THE BYTE SL

Participation ended

Spain
EU contribution
€ 127 844,16
Address
Calle Manso 76 Principal 1
08015 Barcelona
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
NOVIOCELL BV

Participation ended

Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 455 432,68
Address
Kloosterstraat 9 Re1131
5349 AB Oss
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)