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The University of Southampton

Research project: The effects of substrate mechanics on keratinocytes and epidermal stem cell behaviour at wound sites

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The healing of a skin wound is a highly co-ordinated series of events involving both biochemical and biomechanical signalling. There has been increasing evidence that shows the importance of mechanical signalling (mechanotransduction) in cellular behaviour from proliferation, differentiation and migration.

In this project we are determining how the stiffness of a wound affects the behaviour of skin cells. We are using a polymer hydrogel which we can adjust their stiffness (Young's modulus) and culturing keratinocytes on their surface. This allows us to model the constantly changing granulation tissue (wound bed) at a wound site as the new skin is formed over the surface. Through a range of experiments we will be investigating how the keratinocytes are affected by hydrogel stiffness as single cells as well as colonies or groups of keratinocytes. These experiments will give light to the optimal mechanical conditions that would expedite wound closure.

Related research groups

Bioengineering Science
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