Yakut Ali


My research goal is to understand the role of mechanical microenvironment on colon cancer metastasis and to explore the underlying mechanism of cellular mechanotransduction employing interdisciplinary biophysical, cell mechanics and chemical imaging tools. Cancer deaths are primarily caused by metastasis, not by the parent tumor. The physical-chemical mechanisms and parameters within the cellular microenvironment that initiate the onset of metastasis, however, remain enigmatic to date. Recent published work from our group has established a connection between mechanical microenvironment and early translocation phase of metastasis in human colon cancer HCT-8 cell line. Initial evidence with animal studies also suggests that a simple mechanical micro environment mediated metastatic variants of HCT-8 cell line are indeed by far more metastatic. Thus the metastatic transition observed in the petri dish is representative of in vivo metastasis and this model may have significant impact on colon cancer research. It allows studying the molecular mechanisms and signaling involved in early metastatic transition, pathways associated in such transitions, identification of markers for early detection, and rapid screening of drugs to inhibit the onset of metastasis. Understanding the underlying molecular mechanism of in vitro metastasis model and testing it for primary human cells may greatly aid in the development of novel anti-metastasis therapeutics.