- Collective cell migration
- Mathematical and computational modelling
Collective cell migration is a type of cell movement essential in various biological processes like morphogenesis, wound healing and cancer invasion. During cancer invasion of a primary or a secondary organ, the cancer cells colonise the surrounding environment and migrate either as single cells or in multicellular groups. When cancer cells migrate collectively, they coordinate the movement through cell-cell junctions, keeping them attached to each other. The cancer cells also alter the surrounding environment, the extracellular matrix (ECM), through cell-ECM adhesions and proteolysis activity, which results in ECM degradation.
Margherita is interested in better understanding the mechanical and chemical factors that affect collective cancer cell migration, like mechanical features of the ECM (e.g. stiffness) or chemical gradients such as chemotaxis and haptotaxis.
At the moment, she is focusing on studying the effects of ECM stiffness on collective cell migration in 3D using mathematical and computational modelling.