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Investigating the mechanisms underlying the collective migration of heterogenous groups of cells

   School of Biosciences

About the Project

Collective migration of heterogeneous groups of cells is emerging as a key driver of cancer metastasis, the cause of 90% of cancer deaths. While many kinds of individual cell movements have been characterized, less effort has been directed towards understanding how clusters of cells migrate. To explore this, we focus on the migration of the embryonic midgut cells during early states of Drosophila development. This is a fascinating paradigm for collective migration, as midgut cells migrate as mixed population of cells consisting of mesenchymal cells, epithelial-like cells and stem cells. Nevertheless, their migration is highly coordinated both within and between these different cells types.

We are looking for a PhD student to work on a project targeted towards identifying the driving forces for collective migration, and uncovering the basic mechanisms underlying the coordinated migration of distinct cell types. The project will involve studying how this fundamental process is orchestrated during morphogenesis of the Drosophila midgut, and later extending this in exciting Drosophila cancer models we recently generated. This project will combine deep-tissue live imaging on our lab’s own dedicated dual-line multiphoton confocal, with quantitative image analysis and genetic approaches. This is a unique opportunity for you to carry out cutting-edge microscopy, and develop your skills in an exciting multidisciplinary environment.


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