My project is to study epithelial deformation mechanics in 3D geometry. To do this, I grow an epithelial monolayer on the inner surface of alginate hollow microspheres, using a microfluidic device (Alessandri K. et al., 2016). Using this model, I address the questions of how the epithelium accommodates mechanical stress caused by cell proliferation and how the mechanical parameters of the tissue and the substrate generate changes in cell density, cell aspect ratio, and epithelial monolayer shape. By understanding how these parameters evolve in time and space, my study will explain the mechanical aspects of organ shaping and sizing in confined environments.
Physicist by training, I did my PhD in biophysics under supervision of Prof. Jonathon Howard and Prof. Erik Schäffer in Max Planck Institute of Cell Biology and Genetics, in the frame of International Max Planck Research School for Cell, Development and Systems biology. I studied the dynamic microtubule instability with optical tweezers technique, namely microtubule polymerization by microtubule-associated protein XMAP215 under external load. Since January 2013 I am a Post-Doc in the laboratory of Prof. Aurélien Roux. Here, I am working on the mechanical aspects of organ shaping and sizing in the confined environment. More precisely, I am studying the mechanisms of epithelial monolayer buckling/folding in 3D confinements due to cell proliferation and tensile/compressive forces generated by cell growth.