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Two projects to study cell-to-cell communications

Biomedical Engineering Professor David Beebe is a co-investigator on a recently awarded $1.99 million, four-year NSF-EFRI grant, "Microfluidic-based screening of multi-kingdom microbial communication molecules." Bacteriology and Medical Microbiology and Immunology Professor Nancy Keller is the principal investigator on the project. The project goal is to create broadly applicable microscale methods to understand the language of cell-to-cell communication. The outcome of these signals can determine the behavior, survival, virulence or gene expression of all participating organisms, so improved understanding of how they work has broad implications for human health, food safety and the environment. Beebe also will work with Oncology Professor Elaine Alarid on a $990,000, three-year National Institutes of Health-National Cancer Institute grant, "Integrated micro scale transcriptional profiling of cell communication networks." The two will apply simple microscale technology to profile intercell regulation on heterogeneous patient samples. An analysis of the cell network communication will hopefully uncover how intercell regulation contributes to nuclear receptor regulation and ultimately what causes tumor progression and therapeutic resistance.

Mark Riechers