Navigation Links
Columbia engineer observes surprising behavior of cells during blood-vessel formation
Date:3/7/2011

Biologists tend to look at cells in bulk, observing them as a group and taking the average behavior as the norm the assumption is that genetically identical cells all behave the same way. In a paper to be published in the online Early Edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of March 7, 2011, Sam Sia, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering, presents the results of his four-year tissue-engineering study that show a surprising range of variation in how individual cells behave during formation of a blood vessel. Sia and his team used a new method to painstakingly observe and track individual behaviors, characterizing, for the first time, what happens when human endothelial cells move from an initial dispersed state to the formation of capillary-like structures.

"We were really surprised by this behavior," says Sia, who was named one of the world's top young innovators for 2010 by MIT's Technology Review for his work in biotechnology and medicine. "In contrast to the population-averaged behavior that most studies report, most individual cells followed distinct patterns of cell-shape changes that were not reflected in the bulk average."

This is one of the first explicit studies to look at the variations between cells during tissue formation, and overturns the assumption that genetically identical cells behave in generally similar ways. Using a systematic approach to quantifying the changes in cell shape and movement for every single endothelial cell over time, the Columbia Engineering team found unexpected hidden patterns in behavior. In addition to discovering that most cells behave differently from the average, the team also observed that groups of cells behaved in similar fashions, and that some of these clusters of behavior resulted in distinct structural roles in the final blood-vessel network.

The origins of the variations in behavior are not known right now. Sia notes that "one possibility is simply random noise or naturally occurring fluctuations, which have been shown by other researchers to be important in producing biologically significant variations in gene expression and other subcellular processes. It's also possible there are subtle local variations in the extracellular environment that we're not aware of yet."

Sia says an application of this work is to exploit his technique to identify new drugs that modify angiogenesis. "A lot of drugs that either help or hinder blood-vessel formation have unknown mechanisms. This technique can potentially unravel some of those mechanisms, and help identify compounds that modulate specific aspects of how blood vessels form." In addition, knowledge of how individual cells behave will help in high-precision tissue engineering, an ongoing field of research in Sia's lab. "Knowledge of how individual cells or groups of cells behave enhances our understanding of how native tissues self-organize," he says. "This could ultimately enable more precise approaches for engineering complex multicellular tissues."

Sia was also named in 2010 by NASA as one of the ten innovators in human health and sustainability. In 2008, he received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation that included a $400,000 grant to support his other research specialty in three-dimensional tissue engineering. A recipient of the Walter H. Coulter Early Career Award in 2008, Sia participated in the National Academy of Engineering's U.S. Frontiers of Engineering symposium for the nation's brightest young engineers in 2007.

His research is focused on developing new high-resolution tools to control the extracellular environments around cells, in order to study how they interact to form human tissues and organs. His lab uses techniques from a number of different fields, including biochemistry, molecular biology, microfabrication, microfluidics, materials chemistry, and cell and tissue biology.


'/>"/>

Contact: Holly Evarts
holly@engineering.columbia.edu
212-854-3206
Columbia University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Columbia University uses technological innovation to study bone structure
2. Columbia University Medical Center announces 2010 Katz Prizes in cardiovascular research
3. Columbia engineer part of team to receive $6.2 million DOD grant for blast research
4. Columbia University Medical Center announces 2009 Katz Prizes in Cardiovascular Research
5. Columbia University scientist devises new way to more rapidly generate bone tissue
6. Salmon smolt survival similar in Columbia and Fraser rivers
7. Similar survival rates for Pacific salmon in Fraser, Columbia Rivers raises new questions
8. Columbia to award 2008 Horwitz Prize to Arthur Horwich & Ulrich Hartl for cellular protein folding
9. Civil engineers to honor NJITs Priscilla Nelson for research
10. Engineering students win award from National Clean Energy Contest
11. UCLA Engineering advance with new nanomaterials good news for next-generation electronic devices
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/21/2017)... and PORTLAND, Ore. , Feb. 22, ... Avamere Family of Companies (Avamere Health Services, Infinity Rehab, ... six-month research study that will apply the power of ... senior living and health centers. By analyzing data streaming ... gain insights into physical and environmental conditions, and obtain ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... Feb. 16, 2017  Genos, a community for ... it has received Laboratory Accreditation from the College ... presented to laboratories that meet stringent requirements around ... rigorous processes. "Genos is committed to ... practices. We,re honored to be receiving CAP accreditation," ...
(Date:2/13/2017)... , Feb. 13, 2017  RSA Conference -- RSA, ... that is designed to enhance fraud detection and ... in the RSA Fraud & Risk Intelligence Suite. ... to leverage additional insights from internal and external ... better protect their customers from targeted cybercrime attacks. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... 23, 2017  GlobeImmune, Inc. today announced it has ... of 12,835,490 shares of its common stock to NantCell, ... connection with the sale of its common stock, NantCell ... issue to GlobeImmune 200,000 shares, an estimated $2.0 million ... "We are pleased to enter into this strategic agreement ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... -- According to a report by Transparency Market Research ... to the presence of a large pool of participants; however, only ... and Sigma-Aldrich, compete with each other in this market. With Proliant ... 76% of this market in 2016.  ... As of now, a large number of vendors ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 22, 2017 , ... ... regeneration from small lab samples to full-size tissues, bones, even whole organs to ... vascular system that delivers blood deep into the developing tissue. , Current ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 2017   iSpecimen ®, the marketplace ... Pathology Service (DPS), a full-service anatomic pathology reference ... United States , has joined a program offered ... (DHIN) to make human biospecimens and associated data ... program, announced in 2015 as a collaboration between iSpecimen ...
Breaking Biology Technology: