Micro/Nano-scale Engineering of Cell Signaling

Date(s) - 04/26/2010
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Dr. Lance Kam, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University

Proper functioning of tissues relies on the ability of cells to recognize and respond to a complex and dynamic extracellular environment.  We have developed a series of surface engineering techniques for controlling the presentation of multiple biomolecular cues at micro- to nano-scales, and demonstrated the impact of this biocomplexity on cellular function over a range of systems.  At the largest scales of tens of micrometers, the spatial organization of proteins provides a new level of control over the layout of neuron networks.  At smaller scales, we demonstrate new aspects of spatial crosstalk between integrin and cadherin pathways in adenocarcinoma cells.  At submicrometer scales, T cells are able to recognize different patterns of immune synapse signaling complexes.  These systems demonstrate the importance of spatially resolved cellular signaling, providing new opportunities for both incorporation of diverse biophysical phenomena into cellular physiology and development of new strategies for directing cell function in therapeutic applications.