Pre-doctoral school in QUANTITATIVE BIOLOGY

July 8th- 19th, 2019 | IFOM, Milan - Italy

Cell architecture

Course description

-First week module-

Cells in tissues are highly organized and have specific shapes that are strongly linked to their biological functions. This geometrical and spatial organization is essential for tissues homeostasis and can be partially recapitulated in 2D cell culture forcing cells to acquire a specific shape in vitro.

Micro-patterning of adhesive molecules is a technique used to control the cell geometry. By forcing cell to adhere on micro-patterned surfaces it allows to partially mimic in 2D the complexity of the 3D cell micro-environment and to standardize the geometrical constrains of a cell population. This powerful and versatile technique has been successfully employed study the organization of the cell cytoskeleton, cell division and cell migration.

During the course students will learn a simple method to make micro-patterns and the basic knowledge of how to use microscopes to acquire images of fixed and living cells. They will quantitatively analyze their results and produce a report of their experiences.


Paolo Maiuri

IFOM, The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation

Guest Lecturer:

Dr Aldo Ferrari obtained his PhD in physics in 2004 from Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa (Italy) where he studied the optical emission of fluorescent proteins and their application to single molecule imaging in biological environment. He moved to the Department of biochemistry of ETH in Zurich to develop a complete biophysical model of lumen formation in epithelial organs working collaboration with the department of Mechanical Engineering. During his ensuing appointment as group leader at Scuola Normale he started developing structured interfaces for the interaction with cells and tissues, an activity that he continued after moving back to ETH as group leader in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. In his current group at ETH, novel surface nano- and micro-fabrication technologies are developed and applied to cell biology. These include the generation of advanced substrates for traction force microscopy based on the precise nanoprinting of quantum dots on compliant substrates. Algorithm for data analysis and force calculation are a part of this development.