Farah MUSTAPHA - PhD Candidate - 2018 Class

Smart interrogation of mechanosensing in T cell activation
ED 62 Sciences de la vie et de la santé

Thesis Project Description: 

Biological linkers, in the form of ligand-receptor bonds, are mechanosensitive structures since their kinetics and strength are force dependent. Living cells too are mechanosensitive but at a different scale – their structure and function depend on forces that they sense and exert. However, a big current challenge, and the overarching goal of this project, is to bridge our understanding of the molecular and cellular scales, in space and time. To do so, we will be focusing on the T cell immune response, a crucial process at the heart of our acquired immunity. We will design innovative substrates to manipulate cell adhesion using state-of-art micro and nano-fabrication techniques while measuring cell generated forces. We will also develop the means to couple cell force measurements with atomic force microscopy (AFM) and optical tweezers (OT) in order to simultaneously record the modulations in cell mechanics and forces. Additionally, we will quantify cellular activation levels and link them to theoretical models derived from our previous work. In brief, we aim to describe mechanotransduction from molecular to cellular level in the frame of T cell activation.

Thesis Supervisors: 

Pierre-Henri PUECH

Interdisciplinary Research Axis: 

Imaging + Nano-health

Academic Background: 

Lebanese University (LB)

Non-academic partner: