The Department of Biomedicine

BBB seminar: Melody A. Swartz

Lymphangiogenesis and tumor invasion: Molecular vs. biophysical regulators

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Melody A. Swartz
Laboratory for Mechanobiology and Morphogenesis, Integrative Biosciences Institute, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland

Our laboratory is exploring mechanisms of lymphatic growth and interactions between lymphatics and tumors that lead to metastasis. We use a combination of in vivo and in vitro models to explore the interplay between growth factors and interstitial fluid forces in driving these biological events. Furthermore, we have developed mathematical models to help explain how interstitial fluid flow can affect cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, which may in turn govern tumor cell homing to lymphatics.

Melody A. Swartz

Despite her young age, Dr. Swartz has won several prestigious awards. She and her group are interested in understanding how physical environmental factors affect tissue development and remodeling. This physical environment is considered on the local scale of the cell and its extracellular surroundings; mechanical forces can affect the cell both by cytoskeletal and membrane strain as well as by altering the extracellular protein distribution and inducing, for example, directed proteolysis or anisotropy in morphogen gradients. Swartz and her group seek to investigate examples of such phenomena in vivo , and to explore potential mechanisms in vitro . Through this research they have discovered that interstitial flow is likely to be an important factor in lymphangiogenesis, fibroblast-mediated remodeling processes and tumor cell metastasis, and may be useful for guiding cell organization in engineered tissues.

Recent publications:

C. Yong, E.A. Bridenberg, D.C. Zawieja, M.A. Swartz (2005). Microarray analysis of VEGF-C responsive genes in cultured primary human lymphatic endothelial cells. Lymphatic Res. Biol. 3:183-207.

C.E. Helm, M.E. Fleury, A.H. Zisch, F. Boschetti, and M.A. Swartz (2005). Synergy between interstitial flow and VEGF directs capillary morphogenesis in vitro through a gradient amplification mechanism. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 44:15779-15784.

L.G. Griffith, M.A. Swartz, and R.T. Tranquillo (2005). Education for careers in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Ann. Biomed. Eng. (in press)

M.A. Swartz (2005). Interstitial fluid flow induces myofibroblast differentiation and collagen alignment in vitro . J. Cell Sci. 118(20):4731-4739.

G.J. Randolph, V. Angeli, and M.A. Swartz (2005). Dendritic cell trafficking to lymph nodes via lymphatic vessels. Nature Rev. Immunol. 5: 1-12.


Host: Helge Wiig , Department of Biomedicine