Building Tissues to Understand How Tissues Build Themselves

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Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 4:30pm

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The human body contains over 10 trillion cells spanning hundreds of morphologically distinct cell types. These cells must work together for our bodies to function correctly. However, it remains a mystery how such an enormous diversity of cells coordinate their behaviors. Tissue structure - or the composition and physical arrangement of cells, extracellular matrix, and diffusible molecules - helps to coordinate cellular behaviors by organizing the flow of chemical, mechanical, and electrical information between cells. Thus, building tissue structure correctly and maintaining tissue structure over time are prerequisites for engineering functional organs and stopping the progression of diseases like cancer.  I will share recent work in the lab focused on understanding how glandular tissues like the mammary and prostate glands self-organize robustly, as well as progress towards programming the autonomous folding of tissues using a strategy we call “tissue origami."


Dr. Zev Gartner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco. He received his B.S.  in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1999 and his Ph.D. in Chemical Biology from Harvard University in 2004. Dr. Gartner’s laboratory is working to understand how cells assemble into multicellular tissues, how the structure of tissues controls the behavior of individual cells, and how changes to tissue structure drive the progression of diseases like cancer. Toward these goals, we build, perturb, and model human tissues in vitro using techniques from the chemical, engineering, physical and biological sciences.