Huw Colin-York


Current Research

The role of mechanical force has gained increasing interest in the field of cell biology. This has come from the realisation that cells are continually subject to stresses and strains induced by the cellular environment. Cells are known to be able to sense and react to forces imposed on them by their local environment as well as being able to directly impart force during motility and adhesion. This is also true for cells of the immune system, specifically, T-cells are known to be highly motile, navigating through the blood, tissue and lymphatic system. To achieve this level of mobility, T-cells rely on a highly dynamic cytoskeleton. On encountering an Antigen Presenting Cell (APC) that is presenting a foreign antigen, T-cells become activated. This highly selective process by which a T-cell is able to bind, recognise and react to only foreign antigens has been the focus of intense study due to its crucial importance in the adaptive immune response. Despite this, the early stages of T-cell activation remain unclear. The possible active role mechanical force might play in this process has been largely overlooked and a quantitative approach to measuring the forces generated during this interaction is lacking. By employing tools from biophysics and cell mechanics the work proposed aims to investigate the possible role of mechanical force in the initiation and continuation of the T-cell-APC interaction.


Cell mechanics
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Contact Information

The Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, OX3 9DS
huw.colinyork at pmb dot ox dot ac dot uk

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