Dr. Erdem Tabdanov's lab is focused on the principles of cell collective behavior and 3D motility, governed by cytoskeletal machinery and cell organelles mechanics, unified into an active, heterogeneous, composite "smart" decision-making gel.
The lab is particularly focused on mechanically and structurally composite (i.e. heterogeneous) nature of cytoskeleton that features a hierarchical multi-tier organization and extreme mechanostructural adaptiveness, which integrate external and internal mechanical, structural and biochemical signals into a single spatiotemporal pattern of cell behaviors and responsiveness modes, currently studied as isolated phenomena (e.g., mechanosensing). Thus, the lab's mission is to build a more integrated biophysical model of cell behavior of the higher biological and medical relevance, than currently existing paradigms.
The lab is particularly interested in the principles of 3D motility of immune and cancer cells for optimization of cancer immunological treatment strategies. Since immune cell 3D motility remains largely undeciphered, the lab currently develops and tests the biophysical models of T-cell motility as a balance and/or a superposition of various modes of cell motility, such as mesenchymal and amoeboid, which also cross-integrate multiple components of the T-cell cytoskeleton, an overall T-cell architecture and T-cell organelles’ mechanical and structural contribution.
As the solid tumors represent a mechanosteric challenge for immune cell infiltration, thus remaining largely unavailable for immune system, the lab currently develops the strategy to increase CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell motility in the mechanostructurally aggressive biomimetic and/or native tumor microenvironments to achieve a better intratumoral T-cell infiltration parameters. This strategy is based on the pharmacological control, as well as genetic modifications of cytoskeletal signaling that shift and adjust various modes of T-cell cytoskeletal dynamics to customize and improve T-cell infiltration capabilities in various microenvironments.