Guest lecture by Martijn Gloerich | Mechanical control of epithelial cell division

Auditorium Sanquin
Plesmanlaan 125
1066 CX Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Guest lecture by Martijn Gloerich PhD (UMC Utrecht, The Netherlands)

Title: Mechanical control of epithelial cell division

Host: Micha Nethe


Epithelia form essential barriers that protect tissues from the external environment, yet at the same time display high rates of cellular turnover. To ensure the integrity of this barrier while preventing overgrowth, epithelial cell divisions must be tightly balanced with cell loss. Moreover, cells undergo complex morphological changes as they divide, during which barrier integrity must be maintained. I will discuss how these processes rely on mechanical forces that cells exert on each other, and the cellular response to these forces through mechanosensitive cell-cell adhesions.

Dr. Martijn Gloerich is group leader at the department of Molecular Cancer Research within the Center of Molecular Medicine at the UMC Utrecht. Martijn obtained his PhD (cum laude) in 2011 from Utrecht University for his work on the regulation of small GTPases. Using molecular cell biology and live-cell imaging approaches he studied how intracellular signaling by small GTPases establishes cell adhesion and cell polarity. Following his PhD, Martijn became interested in understanding how the behavior of cells is controlled by instructive signals from the surrounding tissue. He received fellowships from NWO and KWF to perform postdoctoral research in the lab of James Nelson at Stanford University (USA). Here, he gained experience with numerous microfabrication and bio-engineering techniques, and established different reductionist approaches to study how communication between cells influences how and when cells divide. In 2016 Martijn returned to the Netherlands to start his own research group at the UMC Utrecht. Supported by his accumulated expertise, Martijn’s group uses an interdisciplinary approach that includes microfabrication techniques, advanced live-cell imaging and molecular biochemistry to understand how cell division is regulated by instructive cues from neighboring cells. His group applies the gained molecular knowledge to different model systems to answer how extrinsic regulation of cell division controls tissue development and homeostasis, and how its disruption contributes to tumor development and progression.