Our focus

What do we do...
Signaling Dynamics

Cells live in a constantly changing environment, accordingly signaling networks have evolved to be extremely dynamic. To study signaling dynamics we do live cell imaging using fully automated imaging platforms. These technologies provide unique spatial and temporal resolutions; both essential to study how single cells respond to a dynamic environment.

Single Cell Biosensors

Since the discovery of AvGFP extraordinary progress has been made to observe molecular events in live cells. However the number of signaling events that can be monitored is still relatively scarce. To address this issue, we use synthetic biology and protein engineering to develop new genetically encoded biosensors. These molecular indicators enable exciting new possiblities to study signaling dynamics in live single cells.

Collective Cell behavior

Higher eukaryotic cells organize in multicellular structures where individual cells cooperate to achieve a common goal. Classically, the study of multicellularity has been restricted to fixed samples, thus limiting our understanding of the cellular and molecular dynamics. We use 3D live cell imaging and fluorescent biosensors to study the dynamics of signaling events in multicellular processes with unique single cell resolution.

Optogenetics

Live cell imaging offers unique spatial and temporal resolutions to measure signaling dynamics. However measuring is just half of the equation to understand biology, perturbing the system is equally important. Fortunately, optogenetics is emerging as a powerful tool for such fine control. In the lab, we also develop and use optogenetic switches to control signaling dynamics with total spatial and temporal control.

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Research

Molecular Biology and Genetics Department
Signaling dynamics in single cells

A fundamental property of living cells is their extraordinary ability to sense and respond to a changing environment. In higher eukaryotes, malfunctioning of signaling networks has many devastating consequences such as cancer, diabetes or autoimmunity. Such consequences arise from the inability of cells to properly evaluate information and cooperate. Our main focus is to understand how individual cells use signaling networks to integrate information, and eventually coordinate collective cell behaviors.

Over the last decade, increasing evidence has shown that the stochastic nature of molecular interactions is a major challenge, especially when cells transduce environmental information. Low molecule copy numbers, macromolecular crowding and picoliter volumes shape the reality of signaling networks; a reality that is often ignored by using bulk cell-population assays. My laboratory takes a single cell approach at studying how signaling networks operate dynamically. We combine 3D live cell imaging, fluorescent biosensors and optogenetics to investigate the origins and consequences of signaling dynamics at single cell level. In particular, we concentrate in analyzing individual cells in a multicellular context where collective cell behaviors lead to complex functions, such as immune response or carcinogenesis. In developing this research program we expect to understand fundamental principles of cell signaling and multicellularity, and how they impact human disease.

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Our Team

Always looking for motivated people to join the lab!
Helen Clark
Graduate Student
Mike Pokrass
Graduate Student
Tim Aikin
Graduate Student
Jessica Heiland
Lab Coordinator
Sergi Regot
Principal Investigator
“The architect of the future will build by imitating Nature, because indeed it is the most rational, robust and economical of all methods.” Antoni Gaudí, Barcelona.
Your name here!
Grad Student / Postdoc
Looking for highly motivated people to join the lab !! To apply contact Sergi

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Molecular Biology and Genetics Department