Archive for the ‘Board News’ Category

Shuichi Takayama’s highlights

Shuichi Takayama

We are delighted to draw your attention to Associate Editor Shuichi Takayama‘s top picks on the topic of immuno-engineering.

The immune system is indispensable for health and central to many diseases. Its importance and complexity make the immune system fertile grounds for innovation and integration of biological models with the latest tools to provide biological insights otherwise difficult to obtain. Below are several articles from 2016 issues of Integrative Biology that highlight such efforts where the tools used range from microfluidics and biomaterials to computational.

Neutrophils are the most abundant white blood cells in humans and the 1st responders at sites of injury or insult. The first two articles highlighted below describe new tools to study neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) which are DNA-protein fibres that these cells produce to physically catch bacteria and protect our body but can also damage tissues as well.


Please follow the links below for free access* to the full papers.

1) Capillary plexuses are vulnerable to neutrophil extracellular traps
L. Boneschansker, Y. Inoue, R. Oklu and D. Irimia

This article describes the use of blood vessel-like branching microfluidic channels to study how NETs can alter blood flow and negatively impact health. An interesting finding is that NETs produced from a small number of neutrophils can have a surprisingly large impact on which downstream channels red blood cells can flow to. This finding provides unique insights into how inflammation, which lead to NET production, may lead to tissue hypoxia and organ injury.

2) Microfluidic device for simultaneous analysis of neutrophil extracellular traps and production of reactive oxygen species
S. F. Moussavi-Harami, K. M. Mladinich, E. K. Sackmann, M. A. Shelef, T. W. Starnes, D. J. Guckenberger, A. Huttenlocher and D. J. Beebe

Neutrophil function can be an indicator of health and disease. Profiling such cellular level functions in patient blood, however, is tricky because of the rapid deterioration of such function with time and the inherent cell-to-cell variability. This paper describes a microfluidic device that can quickly isolate neutrophils from blood and measure their ability to recognize bacteria, produce NETs, and generate reactive oxygen species with single cell resolution.

3) Stiff substrates enhance monocytic cell capture through E-selectin but not P-selectin
J. L. MacKay and D.A. Hammer

Many diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, and obesity cause chronic inflammation.  Interestingly, these types of disease are also associated with blood vessel stiffening.  This paper provides a mechanistic link between these two observations by clever use of biomaterials to show that E-selectin, but not P-selectin, mediate monocyte adhesion in a substrate stiffness-dependent manner.

4) 3-D individual cell based computational modeling of tumor cell–macrophage paracrine signaling mediated by EGF and CSF-1 gradients
H. Knutsdottir, J. S. Condeelis and E. Palsson

Macrophages and tumor cells mutually influence directed migration to metastasize. The details of such behavior, however, is difficult to grasp intuitively or with simple equations especially in 3D environments. This article uses computational models to reveal how chemical communications through EGF and CSF-1 explains complex cellular behaviors observed both in vitro and in vivo such as what macrophage numbers maximize tumor cell migration.

Integrative Biology publishes novel insights into biological questions, which have been achieved through the use of new technologies, techniques and methods. If your research scope fits that of the articles above, please get in touch; we would be very interested to hear more.

We hope you enjoy reading these articles.



*Access is free until 06/05/2016 through a registered RSC account.

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MMB Lab selects their top cancer-related articles

Microtechnology, Medicine and Biology Lab

The Microtechnology, Medicine and Biology Lab (MMB Lab, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA) is interested in applying the lab’s technologies to cancer.

Led by David J. Beebe, Editorial Board member for Integrative Biology, the team works across disciplines and disease boundaries to create solutions that can be translated into widespread use.

The lab has selected their top cancer-related articles published recently in Integrative Biology. Please see below what they say about each article – all free to access for the next 4 weeks!*


1) Human breast cancer invasion and aggression correlates with ECM stiffening and immune cell infiltration
I. Acerbi, L. Cassereau, I. Dean, Q. Shi, A. Au, C. Park, Y. Y. Chen, J. Liphardt, E. S. Hwang and V. M. Weaver

Mary Regier- This paper supports other articles pointing out the importance of microenvironmental factors including cell-cell interactions, cell-matrix interactions, and matrix mechanics and architecture and their intratumoral heterogeneity in breast cancer behavior and patient prognosis. Our selection highlights the variety of microenvironmental factors that influence cancer progression and spread.


2) Marker-free detection of progenitor cell differentiation by analysis of Brownian motion in micro-wells
F. Sekhavati, M. Endele, S. Rappl, A.-K. Marel, T. Schroeder and J. O. Rädler

Patrick Ingram- In this paper, the authors present a marker-free, high throughput, and single cell compatible method to monitor granulocyte-macrophage progenitor differentiation via the changes in Brownian motion as the cells differentiate into adherent macrophages. Though not investigated directly, these same methods can be further applied to monitor molecular binding events in living cells, allowing the high throughput study of membranes and surface receptors in heterogeneous cancer cell populations. Sekhavati et al. provide a compelling proof-of-concept that uses ubiquitous and accessible physics to readout underlying biological processes.


3) A cell-ECM screening method to predict breast cancer metastasis
L. E. Barnery, E. C. Dandley, L. E. Jansen, N. G. Reich, A. M. Mercurio and S. R. Peyton

José A. Jiménez-Torres- In this paper, the authors presented an in vitro biomaterial system to investigate the role of cancer-cell integrin binding to different ECM matrices inspired by in vivo secondary tissue targets of breast cancer metastasis. Their experiments highlight the heterogeneity of breast cancer and how this is an obstacle in the clinical success of integrin-targeted therapeutics.


4) Quantitative multivariate analysis of dynamic multicellular morphogenic trajectories
D. E. White, J. B. Sylvester, T. J. Levario, H. Lu, J. T. Streelman, T. C. McDevitt and M. L. Kemp

Brian Johnson- An interesting paper tackling a challenge problem; White et al. explore multi-cellular interactions in morphological development using a network analysis approach that enables the quantitative comparison of experimental data to computational modelling simulations. While the technique was applied to characterize emergent spatial phenotypic patterns found in developing tissues, these same principles could be used to tease apart and model the extensive spatial heterogeneity found in the tumour microenvironment of patient derived samples.



We hope you enjoy reading these articles as much as we did.

Integrative Biology publishes novel insights into biological questions, which have been achieved through the use of new technologies, techniques and methods. If your research scope fits that of the articles above, we would be very interested to hear more.

Please email us today, read more about our scope, or submit your article via our online submission portal.


*Access is free until 20/03/2016 through a registered RSC account
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Lessons for Young Scientists…

Around 4 years ago, Integrative Biology board member and Nobel laureate Professor Roger Tsien visited the Department of Biochemistry at Oxford University. During his talk one insightful scientist wrote down a few of Professor Tsien’s words of wisdom. Here’s what he had to say on building an effective and successful science research career…

Try to put your neuroses to constructive use.

Try to find projects that give you some sensual pleasure.

Accept that your batting average will be low but hopefully not zero.

Accept that your best papers may be rejected from the fashionable journals or may be accepted for the wrong reasons (the same for grant proposals).

Learn to make lemonade from lemons; sometimes persistence pays off.

Prizes are ultimately a matter of luck, so avoid being motivated or impressed by them.

Find the right collaborators and exploit them kindly for mutual benefit.

 

Professor Tsien’s advice for young scientists has been posted here on behalf of both Roger and the insightful scientist, who we thank heartily for taking such excellent notes!

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Personalised treatment using systems biology – a review

Diagnosis and monitoring of many diseases usually involves testing for a specific disease-related molecular biomarkers from a small sample of tissue. Within a single tissue, the contents and functions of individual cells vary greatly. The regulation of the genome varies from cell to cell due to different regulatory mechanisms taking control.

If we could quantify the number of biomarker molecules per cell in a diseased sample this will lead to a more personalised approach to disease. For example, getting such a profile of all of the different cell types involved on one particular person’s leukaemia would reveal the different biomarkers and their combinations that are resulting in the disease. Treatment could then be based on this detailed information.

Integrative Biology Editorial Board member Philip Day, University of Manchester, UK, and Ehsan Karimiani at the Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Iran, present a complex but fascinating review of the steps that are being made towards personalisation of disease monitoring made possible by such a quantitative systems medicine approach to genetic biomarker analysis.

The focus is on quantitative single cell measurements for haematological malignancy monitoring. This review includes: 

  1. Sample preparation
  2. The multidisciplinary future of molecular diagnostics
  3. Nucleic acid profiling for diagnostics
  4. Gene expression profiling of single cells for diagnostics
  5. The role of minaturisation and microfluidics in PCR

The review concludes with a look at what may be possible in the future, with Karimiani and Day emphasising that current practices need to change drastically before this personalised approach can become a reality.

For more in depth explanation, read the review in full:

Personalised treatment of haematological malignancies through systems medicine based on single molecules in single cells
Ehsan Ghayoor Karimiani and Philip Day
DOI: 10.1039/C3IB20258E

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Issue 1 just published!

Welcome to the first 2012 issue of Integrative Biology!

With this issue we welcome our new Editorial Board Chair, Professor Douglas Lauffenburger, and thank Professor Mina Bissell for her leadership as the inaugural Chair.  Professor Lauffenburger sets out his aim for the journal’s future in his editorial, The multiple dimensions of Integrative Biology.

The exciting cover image is courtesy of Alexander Goryaynov et al., to accompany their review article on single-molecule studies of nucleocytoplasmic transport.  This article is free to access for 6 weeks, so do take a look.

The issue also contains hot review articles from Paolo Gualtieri et al., Fundamental questions and concepts about photoreception and the case of Euglena gracilis and Bio-inspired materials for parsing matrix physicochemical control of cell migration: A review by Hyung-Do Kim and Shelly R Peyton.

View the issue

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