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Physical Sciences Approaches to Analyze Tumor-Associated ECM Dynamics

Physical Sciences Approaches to Analyze Tumor-Associated ECM Dynamics
Thursday, May 23, 2019 - 2:30pm
Clark Center - S360
Prof. Claudia Fischbach-Teschl (Cornell)
Abstract / Description: 

Stanford Center for Cancer Systems Biology (CCSB) presents:

Claudia Fischbach-Teschl, PhD
Professor, Nancy E. and Peter C. Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering
Director, Cornell Center on the Physics of Cancer Metabolism Cornell University

"Physical Sciences Approaches to Analyze Tumor-Associated ECM Dynamics"

Microenvironmental conditions contribute to the pathogenesis of cancer and include altered cellular composition, extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition, and mechanical cues. However, our understanding of the specific mechanisms by which these microenvironmental perturbations impact the development, progression, and therapy response of cancer is relatively limited. More intricate models are needed to better understand the complex biochemical and biophysical interactions that drive tumor initiation, growth, metastasis, metabolic adaptation, and immune evasion. The fields of biomaterials and tissue engineering provide increasingly sophisticated tools and strategies to recapitulate and monitor relevant properties of tumor-microenvironment interactions.

These approaches not only bear tremendous potential to advance our current understanding of cancer, but are also increasingly explored for more clinically relevant drug testing. Indeed, combining patient-specific cells with engineered culture systems promises to enhance the predictive power of precision medicine pipelines. This talk will highlight specific examples of how the microenvironment regulates the highly dynamic nature of cancer and will outline opportunities and challenges of the field of tumor engineering.


Claudia Fischbach-Teschl is the Director of Cornell's Physical Sciences Oncology Center on the Physics of Cancer Metabolism. She received her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Technology from the University of Regensburg, Germany and holds an M.S. in Pharmacy from the Ludwigs-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany. She conducted her postdoctoral work at Harvard University in the Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences and joined the faculty of Cornell in 2007. Dr. Fischbach-Teschl's lab applies biomedical engineering strategies to study cancer with the ultimate goal of identifying new mechanisms that may ultimately help to prevent and treat this disease. She serves on the NIH Tumor Microenvironment Study Section and is an editorial board member of various journals including the new ACS journal Biomaterials Science and Engineering.

Cellular interactions with their surrounding including other cells and extracellular matrix are critically important in the development and progression of cancer. However, current cancer research mostly studies cells under conditions that do not reflect how cells exist in the body. By exploring tissue engineering, microfabrication, and biomaterials strategies the Fischbach-Teschl lab engineers model systems that allow studying tumor cells under conditions that mimic those within patients. In particular, the Fischbach-Teschl lab uses these model systems to gain a better understanding of the biological and physical principles that tumors use to modulate the function of normal blood vessels, stem cells, and bone in order to become more aggressive and ultimately metastasize to distant sites.