MSE Research Project Database

Biomechanics and mechanobiology of cancer cell metastasis

Project Leader: Vijayaraghavan Rajagopal
Student: Jared Collette Qilin Yu
Collaborators: Rodney Luwor (Surgery), Andrea Pavesi (MIT), Hayden Taylor (University of Berkley), Roger Kamm (MIT), William Holmes (Vanderbilt University)
Primary Contact: Vijayaraghavan Rajagopal (
Keywords: biomechanics; cancer; mechanobiology; systems biology
Disciplines: Biomedical Engineering,Mechanical Engineering
Domains: Convergence of engineering and IT with the life sciences
Research Centre: Systems Biology Laboratory

Cell movement or migration is essential to many aspects of our health including wound healing, immune system response and cancer. For example, life and death of individual cells that make up our bodies are controlled by forces and chemicals that the cells sense in the local environment. Cancer is characterised by one, or a small number of, mutated cells that are no longer sensitive to the local forces. These cells multiply and grow unceasingly into large tumors. A tumor becomes metastatic when cells from the primary tumor migrate to other parts of our body. The aim of this project is to develop computational models of the mechanical properties and forces in metastatic breast cancer cells, to investigate why these cells are no longer sensitive to their physiological environment, and to identify ways in which these cells could be controlled. This computational model will also form the basis of several research activities in Mechanical Engineering and the University of Melbourne on the mechanobiology of cell and tissue remodeling in cardiac and smooth muscle diseases. 

Further information:

Biomechanics of Cell Movement