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Structure/Function Relationships of Glycosaminoglycan Chains

Intracellular Signaling Pathways

Astrocyte Extracellular Matrix

Biophysics of Growth Cones

Tissue Engineering

Lab Protocols

Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology
Division of Intramural Research, NHLBI
Bethesda, MD 20f92-1754

Geller Lab Research > Biophysics of Growth Cones

Studies of axonal growth and guidance cues have primarily focused on soluble and substrate-bound molecules.  However, axons are growing in a physical as well as a chemical environment.  In addition, growth cones exert physical forces on their substrates.  This part of our research, in collaboration with Dr. Jeffrey Urbach of Georgetown University, is directed as understanding the role of physical forces in the regulation of axonal growth.  Thus, different neuronal populations react differently to the stiffness of their substrate.  We are also investigating the forces generated by growing axons using a combination of traction force and total internal reflection (TIRF) microscopy. 

• Polackwich, J., Koch, D., McAllister, R., Urbach, J. S. , Geller, H. M. Traction force and tension fluctuations in growing axons, Frontiers In Cellular Neuroscience, 2015 doi:10.3389/fncel.2015.00417

• Koch, D., Rosoff, W. J., Jian, J., Geller, H. M. and Urbach, J. S. Strength in the periphery: Growth cone biomechanics and substrate rigidity response in peripheral and central nervous system neurons, Biophys. J., 102:452-460, 2012.

• Kelly, T.-A. N., Katagiri, Y., Kumar, P., Chen, I.-I., Vartanian, K. B., Rosoff, W. J., Urbach, J. S. and Geller, H. M. Localized alteration of microtubule polymerization in growth cones at inhibitory boundaries, J. Neurosci. Res., 88:3024-33, 2010.