___90% of cancer associated deaths are a consequence of metastasis, a sequence of events in which cancer cells escape from primary tumours, travel to distant organs and eventually grow secondary tumour masses.
___Even though metastasis is so deadly, many of the key steps involved in this process are poorly understood. This is one major reason for the modest effectiveness of many cancer drugs.
___A major goal of our group is to gain a comprehensive biomechanistic understanding of the metastasis so that new strategies can be developed to directly target and inhibit the metastatic process across multiple cancer subtypes.
___The engineering of microscale & microfluidic models that mimic the physical and biological complexities of tissue & organ systems enable the study of multi-scale physiological behaviors in environments that can be tightly controlled and easily imaged in real time.
___These biomimetic models have numerous applications within cancer and beyond, from studying cell behaviours in metastasis/pathogenesis, to evaluating therapeutic interventions and comparing organ functions in health & disease among others.
Cell & Tissue Biomechanics
___Many cell and tissue behaviours can be described by classical mechanics. Mechanics when applied in this way becomes a powerful tool for explaining the “why” and “how” behind observations, and also for developing methods of altering behaviours in desired manners.
___Because diseases, such as metastatic cancer, are fundamentally caused by dysregulated cell and tissue behaviours, insights derived from biomechanics may provide new strategies for sabotaging the progression of many diseases.
Microfluidic Tools & Interventions
___Microfluidic devices offer precise control over biological fluids and hydrogels using nano-to-micro metre scale features. This is useful for developing microscale models of tissues, but also for clinical/point-of-care applications in diagnostics, prognostics and evaluating therapeutic interventions, among others.
___Our group has broad expertise in the design and microfabrication of both pressure-driven microfluidic configurations in addition to electric field-driven digital microfluidic formats.