prof. Marleen Van Troys (PhD)
Assiociate professor (15 %) - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences - UGent
Post-doctoral assistant (80%) - department Biochemistry Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences - UGent
Co-chair Minimal Requirements working group, Cell Migration Standardisation Organisation (CMSO); linked to MULTIMOT
The main outcome of our research is a customizable in vitro migration/invasion test platform for cancer cells that combines different migration or invasion assays with image processing tools and a downstream tool (CellMissy) for data management and quantitative data-analysis. The assays can be tailored to the biological question. The imaging and image processing works with unlabelled cells (established cell lines, primary cells, patient cells, cell aggregates or single cells). The data analysis gives insight in the speed and directionality of collective or single cells and how this is affected by specific treatments or drugs. Indepth statistical comparisons between tested conditions is easily possible within the analysis tool. The data management system stores metadata (experimental conditions, treament conditions, imaging conditions) and the raw quantitative data.
We mainly apply this platform to determine the role of signalling pathways, of proteins or proteins complexes in cancer cell motile properties in a 2D or 3D matrix context (main focus on actin cytoskeleton machinery and regulation, on adhesion machinery, …). In a recent project on a putative tumor suppressor, the combined testing on the platform and in mice underscored the predictive power of the obtained in vitro data.
This platform may be of use for researchers with an interest to quantitatively measure the impact of the expression of their protein or treatment of interest on cell migration or invasion in a cancer cell of choice. Screens of medium throughput are feasable to monitor effects on migration or invasion kinetics.