NEWS RELEASE

International Human Frontier Science Grant Supports Intensive Cell Research

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Diane Lidke, Ph.D., UNM School of Medicine Department of Pathology, is joining a highly specialized international research team to investigate how environmental forces within the body affect cell communication. Many diseases and cancers are attributed to unregulated cell signaling pathways.

The team is supported by a recent program grant award from the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) for the project,Nano-Mechano-Biology: Spatiotemporal Remodeling of Membrane Nanoplatforms under Mechanical Forces.

Four uniquely specialized research teams – Lidke at UNM, and a team in Spain, India and the Netherlands respectively – are collaborating on the research, which centers on how cellular behaviors change when stressed and how those changes affect cell signaling, or communication.

At any given time, a cell within the body is experiencing a variety of forces in its environment – from fluid flow in capillaries, to local pressures in tissue – that can affect the cell in a unique way. Lidke’s team will use quantitative fluorescence microscopy to investigate how forces modify protein interactions that regulate cell signaling.

“To address the question of how stress alters membrane organization and signaling at the molecular level, we will use cutting-edge biophysical tools recently developed by team members,” Lidke asserts. “These tools include super-resolution imaging and nanospectroscopy, hyperspectral microscopy and tailored-made microdevices for mechanical manipulation.”

Meanwhile, Spanish researchers will investigate how applying pressure or stretching of cells will alter the organization of proteins in the cell membrane. The team in India will focus on how the underlying membrane structure is altered by force, and the Dutch scientists are interested in how forces alter the immunological response of the cellular model.

HFSP collaborative research grants are given for a broad range of projects under the umbrella theme of “Complex mechanisms of living organisms”. Particular emphasis is placed on cutting-edge, risky projects. It’s hoped that studying this phenomena might lead to a better understanding of how cells convert physical cues into biochemical signals and then integrate these signals into a cellular response, in both normal and diseased cells.

For more information on the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization collaborative research grants, visithttp://www.hfsp.org/awardees/newly-awarded. For more information on the UNM Department of Pathology, visithttp://pathology.unm.edu/.


Contact: Luke Frank, 272-3322