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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.
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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)

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UNIVERSITAT POLITECNICA DE CATALUNYA

Spain

EU Contribution

€ 638 000

LEIBNIZ-INSTITUT FUER NEUE MATERIALIEN GEMEINNUETZIGE GMBH

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 662 000

KING'S COLLEGE LONDON

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 706 715

UNIVERSITAIR MEDISCH CENTRUM UTRECHT

Netherlands

EU Contribution

€ 2 337 450

MIND THE BYTE SL

Spain

EU Contribution

€ 127 844,16

NOVIOCELL BV

Netherlands

EU Contribution

€ 710 500

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 731957

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 January 2017

  • End date

    31 December 2021

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.2.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 7 134 928,75

  • EU contribution

    € 7 134 928,75

Coordinated by:

FUNDACIO INSTITUT DE BIOENGINYERIA DE CATALUNYA

Spain