Inter-tissue communication presents unique challenges in understanding causality between perturbations in one tissue and effects on distant tissues. We use microfluidics combined with sensors of cell state to develop reductionist approaches to investigate communication between tissues in physiological and disease conditions.
We investigate whether pathways involved in cell-to-cell communication have a mechanosensing component. We are developing tools to apply coordinated, well-defined forces to assemblies of proteins. We investigate mechanosensing in the context of development and cancer.
The spatial distribution of proteins in the cell is a key regulator of protein function. We use nanotechnology tools to manipulate the spatial distribution and stability of membrane proteins to investigate mechanisms of communication between adjacent cells.