Assistant Professor Allen Liu has been selected to give a talk at the Future of Biophysics Symposium. The symposium will take place at the Biophysical Society 61st Annual Meeting in New Orleans, February 11-15, 2017. The 2017 Future of Biophysics Burroughs Wellcome Fund Symposium highlights the work of young researchers who are currently conducting research at the interface of the physical and life sciences.
Liu will be one of six researchers presenting at the symposium. His talk is titled “Repurposing Mechanosensitive Channels to Study Confined 3D Cell Migration.” For cancer cells to metastasize, they need to squeeze between other cells and through confined spaces in the extracellular matrix. Recent studies have discovered a new mode of cell migration in confined 3D microenvironment that is mediated by water permeation, also known as the osmotic engine. To test and short-circuit the osmotic engine in cancer cells, we have leveraged the engineering of a mechanosensitive channel from bacteria that opens in response to membrane tension into mammalian cancer cells. We hope the activation of the mechanosensitive channel due to cell compression during confined migration will abrogate the effect of the osmotic engine. Liu’s talk will discuss his recent effort in this area.