The biophysics of cell motility in vivo



A better understanding of the mechanisms behind cell motility is crucial to controlling pathologies (e.g. cancer) and for understanding embryonic development. However, most of our knowledge of cell migration stems from in vitro motility assays of limited physiological relevance. In this project we  exploit the embryonic migration of Drosophila macrophages as an in vivo motility system as these cells can be imaged live during development at an unprecedented spatio-temporal resolution in vivo. We will combine the genetic tractability of this system, computer vision techniques, and computational models to examine the biophysics of migrating cells within this in vivo context.


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Stramer B, Wood W, Galko M, Redd M, Jacinto A, Parkhurst S, and Martin P. (2005) Live imaging  of wound inflammation in Drosophila  embryos reveals key roles for small GTPases during in vivo cell migration. J. Cell. Biol. 168:567-573.


Stramer B, Moreira S, Millard T, Evans I, Sabet O, Milner M, Martin P, Wood W.  (2010)  Clasp mediated microtubule bundling regulates persistent motility and contact repulsion in Drosophila macrophages in vivo.  J. Cell Biol. 189:681-689  


Davis J, Huang C, Zanet J, Harrison S, Rosten E, Cox S, Soong D, Dunn G, Stramer B.  (2012)  Emergence of embryonic pattern through contact inhibition of locomotion.  Development. 139: 4555-4560.


Zanet J, Jayo A, Plaza S, Millard T, Parsons M, Stramer B. (2012)  Fascin promotes filopodia formation independent of its role in actin-bundling.  J. Cell Biol. 197:477-486

Biological Areas:

Cell Biology


Genes, development and STEM approaches to biology