The role of adhesive cues in the dynamic regulation of collective cell migration and directionality


Collective cell migration is a fundamental process by which groups of cells move together in an organised manner, and it is critical for morphogenesis, wound healing, and metastasis.  The aim of this studentship is to investigate how biophyscial cues from the extracellular matrix (ECM) regulate directionality and collective migration in epithelial cells.  The proposed studies will employ novel micro-patterned substrates to dynamically control the interactions between cells and the ECM and examine the molecular mechanisms involved.  The successful completion of this project will provide fundamental insights into epithelial cell biology and support multi-disciplinary training in biomaterials, imaging, and cell biology.


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Costa P, Gautrot JE, Connelly JT. ‘Directing cell migration using micro-patterned and dynamically adhesive polymer brushes’ Acta Biomat. 2014; 10(6): 2415-22.


Connelly JT et al. ‘Actin and serum response factor transduce physical cues from the microenvironment to regulate epidermal stem cell fate decisions’. Nat Cell Biol. 2010; 12(7): 711-8.


Morton P, Nastos T, Santis G, Parsons M. CAR regulates epithelial junction stability via control of E-cadherin traffic. 2013 Sci Reps. Oct 7;3:2889.


Scales TME, Jayo A, Obara B, Holt MR, Hotchin, NA, Berditchevski F, Parsons M. α3β1 integrins regulate CD151 complex assembly and membrane dynamics in carcinoma cells within 3D environments. Oncogene. 2012. doi: 10.1038/onc.2012.415.

Biological Areas:

Cell Biology


Genes, development and STEM approaches to biology