The Kutys Lab spans disciplinary boundaries between cell biology and engineering to investigate tissue morphogenic processes associated with human development, regeneration and disease. Ultimately, we are interested in uncovering fundamental molecular and mechanical mechanisms that conspire across time and length scales to organize and shape human tissues. To do so, we develop microfluidic, biomimetic human tissue models that recapitulate 3D in vivo architectures, microenvironments, cellular heterogeneity, and morphogenic behaviors that can be examined mechanistically by biochemical and cell biological approaches. Combined with advanced microscopy, cellular and molecular engineering, and 'omic' technologies, our multidisciplinary approach allows us to model, control, and dissect complex multicellular behaviors at a level previously only accessible in vivo.
At the molecular level, we are experts in elucidating new mechanisms underlying adhesion biology, the interactions of cells with their neighbors and their microenvironment. We study how core adhesion molecules like cadherins and integrins integrate and orchestrate chemical and mechano-signaling to specify multicellular behavior, proper organization and differentiation of complex tissues, as well as facilitate the progression of disease.
At the cellular level, we develop and apply quantitative imaging and molecular tools (optogenetics, synthetic biology, microenvironment biomaterials/patterning) that allow us to measure, direct, and perturb cellular behaviors to understand how collective decisions initiate and propagate within tissues.
At the tissue level, we engineer organotypic 3D microfluidic models of human tissues with defined architectures and microenvironments in vitro that permit the simulation, molecular dissection, and quantitative analysis of in vivo-like morphogenic processes. We are working to combine these platforms with organoid systems, unbiased proteomics, and single-cell analyses to build spatio-temporal road maps of human development and disease.