Mechanical forces and physical properties of the extracellular environment co-regulate fundamental cellular processes like proliferation, cell migration, tissue development and differentiation. Cellular biophysics group focuses especially on force transduction and force sensing in and between cells. The aim is to understand how these physical cues influence cell behaviour and gene expression.
The main research questions of the group are the following. How is mechanical tension transduced from the cell surface to the intracellular structures, especially to the cell nucleus? What are the effects of intracellular mechanical forces to nuclear lamina and chromatin organization? How do the biophysical properties of the extracellular environment control gene expression?
The group uses a variety of microscopy approaches to investigate the cellular mechanics in different conditions. We construct substrates with different rigidity from hydrogels (polyacrylamide-based) and manipulate the surface adhesion or topography of the cells by using microengineering approaches. We conduct standard confocal microscopy with living and fixed cells, super-resolution microscopy (e.g. structured illumination microscopy and expansion microscopy) and use different photobleaching approaches to probe inner life of cells. More recently we have started to use next-generation sequencing, optogenetics and molecular force sensitive biosensors (“force sensors”).
Business Finland, Licence-to-Breath consortium, year 2020
MET graduate school, 4 year funding (Sanna Korpela, M.Sc. (tech)), year 2020
Academy of Finland postdoctoral fellow (Elina Mäntylä, Ph.D.), year 2020
Emil Aaltonen foundation consortium project, ABioT, year 2019
Academy of Finland consortium project, BioMiR, year 2019
Academy of Finland research fellow (Teemu Ihalainen, Ph.D.), year 2017
Academy of Finland postdoctoral fellow (Teemu Ihalainen, Ph.D.), year 2013