Upcoming PhD defence: Chrysovalantou Kalaitzidou

Chrysovalantou KALAITZIDOU will defend her PhD thesis Unveiling the Hidden Language of Extracellular Matrix Deformation: A tale of cellular whispers and unstable fibers on Monday, 30 October 2023, 10h00-13h00, Campus Belval in room MSA.3100.

Cell-generated forces within the Extracellular Matrix (ECM) lead to distinct deformation patterns, characterised by significant matrix densification and alignment of its fibres. These patterns play a pivotal role in intercellular communication, as well as cell motility and invasion. In this dissertation, the primary objective was to investigate how the discrete nature of the fibre network, coupled with the intricate intrinsic mechanics of the fibres, results in the emergence of such patterns. The models employed in this study underscore the importance of material instability, specifically the nonlinearity induced by fibre buckling under compression. The simulation-based evidence and data analysis presented in this dissertation underscore the significance of compression instability due to buckling as a fundamental nonlinear mechanism governing the mechanical behaviour of fibrous ECM. These findings offer fresh perspectives for exploring the characteristics of cell-induced deformations responsible for matrix densification and fibre alignment.