University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Theory - Chemistry Research Interest Group > Heavy mice and lighter things: a chemistry approach to understanding the structure and roles of the extracellular matrix.

Heavy mice and lighter things: a chemistry approach to understanding the structure and roles of the extracellular matrix.

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The extracellular matrix (ECM) forms the bulk of our structural tissues and provides them with their particular mechanical properties. At the microscopic level, it provides the scaffold which supports cells but more intriguingly, at the molecular level, it provides the communication system between the cells in the tissue and the signals that drives the individual behaviour of cells. Ultimately, if we can understand how the extracellular matrix structure dictates the behaviour of cells, then we can develop ways to treat diseases such as cancer, by changing the extracellular matrix to drive the necessary change in cell behaviour. However, understanding the molecular level properties of the extracellular matrix has been hampered by the lack of methods to study tissues at the atomic scale. In this talk, I will describe the various experimental and modelling approaches we have used over the last decade to tackle these complex questions.

This talk is part of the Theory - Chemistry Research Interest Group series.

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