One of our main research interests in the field of cell biology deals with the cell biological and molecular alterations of tumor diseases. One model system is tumors of the digestive tract, in particular pancreatic adenocarcinoma, which has a very unfavorable survival rate. A decisive factor for the dangerous course of malignant tumor disease is the altered property of the degenerated cells to no longer form stable cell-cell contacts in their original tissue association. They can thus migrate from the primary tumor into the surrounding and even distant tissue, grow into it and form further growths.
We are establishing new techniques in our laboratories that allow us to analyze and accurately determine various biophysical properties of cells, cell cultures and tissues. These techniques include digital holographic microscopy (DHM) and impedance spectroscopy. Neither technology requires labels or dyes and are minimally invasive to use. They can be used to characterize processes involved in the formation and destruction of cell-cell contacts or cell adhesion, or to accurately measure cell migration and cell deformation.
Furthermore, and also in combination with the previously mentioned measurement methods, the different tumor cells can be analyzed with regard to their molecular formation, in particular their adhesion and contact proteins, by applying fluorescence microscopic, molecular biological and biochemical techniques.