Michael Andäng – Biophysics of stem cell and tissue growth

Research in our group aims for a deeper understanding of the factors that control self-renewal in stem cells. Understanding the role of such factors is essential when developing regenerative therapies but also therapies against self-renewing tumor initiating cells (cancer stem cells) that underlie tumor relapse and metastasis.

Self-renewal is the capacity of a stem cell to maintain a stem cell identity while realizing its potential to differentiate. Self-renewal necessarily also entails maintained proliferative capacity.

In our studies we aim to identify factors that:

  • induce the transition from quiescence to active proliferation in stem cells to allow tissue repair/engineering
  • protect stem cells during radio-/chemotherapy and
  • target the proliferative and metastatic capacity in cancer stem cells.

To this end we explore how biophysical mechanisms, involving membrane potential and electrochemical signaling, affect stem cell behavior and morphology associated with growth, proliferation and migration.

Using a range of different methods

We work with an experimental systems biology approach using methods ranging from pharmacology, small molecule screens and genetic validations in stem cells, cancer stem cells, organoids and mouse models, extending to genomics (RNAseq) and biophysical methods. We furthermore explore oscillatory behaviors in biological systems, in particular ion oscillations, the cell intrinsic molecular clock and the cell cycle. For such studies we employ a variety of techniques such as live microscopic imaging.

Last modified: 2023-01-25