Biophysical Determinants of Early Embryonic Stem Cell Fate Specification

-
Investigator: Valerie M. Weaver, PhD
Sponsor: California Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Location(s): United States

Description

This project focuses on studying how cell adhesion forces act during embryonic development to induce and reinforce cell responses and signaling pathways that are essential to gastrulation and primitive streak formation. By growing human embryonic stem cells on extracellular matrices with defined mechanical properties, we have developed a system that mimics the spontaneous large-scale organized movements that occur during gastrulation, and this system can be used to identify the global and local extrinsic biophysical and intrinsic molecular mechanisms involved in these developmental processes. These studies will provide insight into the biophysical mechanisms underlying the cell fate specification and spontaneous self-organization required for coordination of embryonic development.