Maarten De Clercq
Doctoral fellow - Nanobody lab - Department of Biomolecular Medicine, UGent
Principal Investigator: prof. Jan Gettemans (PhD)
Cancer cells form invadopodia, which are actin-rich membrane protrusions that function as scaffolding for matrix-metalloproteases, to enable them to degrade the extracellular matrix during metastasis. These structures are similar to podosomes, which are present in other highly motile cells such as immune cells. Collectively, these structures are called invadosomes. Over the past years, more research has been done regarding the structure of invadosomes, but the mechanisms behind their formation and regulation remain mainly uncovered.
In my research, I will use nanobodies as inhibitors of invadosome constituents to get a better understanding of their role in building up these structures. These fluorescently labeled nanobodies are introduced in cancer cells using photoporation and afterwards, their effects can be visualized using super-resolution microscopy. A better understanding of the mechanisms behind invadosome formation and dynamics can then ultimately lead to more targeted therapies for metastatic cancers, while making sure that these therapies have a minimal influence on the functionality of immune cells.
- 2023: M.Sc in Biochemical Engineering Technology
- 2021: B.Sc. in Bioscience Engineering Technology