Sanjay Kumar, M.D., Ph.D., UC Berkeley – Mechanobiological control of tumor and stem cell behavior: Lessons from the brain

Speaker: Sanjay Kumar, M.D., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Kumar also holds appointments as a Faculty Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Supernumerary (Visiting) Professor at The University of Navarra in Spain. He earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1996, and both a Ph.D. in molecular biophysics and an M.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 2003. From 2003-2005, he served as an NIH research fellow at Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School. Since joining the faculty at UC Berkeley in 2005, Dr. Kumar has been recognized with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) through the Department of Defense, The NSF CAREER Award, The NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, and The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator Award.

Location: CPCOM 120

Web Cast: View Web Cast

Date & Time: March 8th, 2012 12:00 p.m.

Title: Mechanobiological control of tumor and stem cell behavior: Lessons from the brain

Abstract: One of the most exciting breakthroughs in cell biology over the past decade is the recognition that micromechanical inputs to cells from the solid-state extracellular matrix (ECM), such as those encoded in ECM geometry, topography, and elasticity, can influence cell and tissue physiology and pathology in profound and specific ways. This “physical microenvironment” bears direct relevance to the pathogenesis of diseases of the nervous system in which cells alter their structure, motility, or compliance, including neuronal and glial tumors and neurodegenerative disorders, and suggests that specific cell behaviors may be engineered by directly manipulating the underlying molecular systems. In this talk, I will discuss efforts my group has taken to elucidate the importance of the physical microenvironment in regulating tumor and stem cell biology in the central nervous system. This includes efforts to probe the molecular basis of the relationship between ECM mechanics, topology, and cellular motility and force generation in malignant glioma cells in two- and three-dimensional culture. In the case of adult neural stem cells, these approaches have enabled us to dissect and manipulate neurogenic commitment and maturation in vitro and in vivo by controlling both physical properties of the stem cell niche and the cellular signaling systems that interface with this niche. An important lesson from this work is that adult neural stem cells sense time-sensitive biomechanical signals from the microenvironment that are processed through Rho family GTPases, produce changes in cellular contractile signaling, and strongly influence neurogenic lineage commitment.

Thank you and if you have questions please contact Amanda Wilber! And don’t forget, coffee will be served!

Amanda Wilber, Center for the Convergence of Physical Science and Cancer Biology

Arizona State University | P.O. Box 871504 | Tempe, AZ 85287

480.965.3860 | Fax: 480.965.6362
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