Cellular Engineering

Brangwynne Lab image

Researchers in the Brangwynne lab captured microscope images of particles called nucleoli (shown in red) within the nucleus of a frog egg. When they disrupted a chemical (actin) scaffold within the cell, the nucleoli fell to the bottom of the nucleus, which demonstrated the unexpected role of gravity in limiting the size of cells.

Microscale and nanoscale technologies are particularly well suited to the investigation and manipulation of the teeny tiny workings inside a cell, a field known as cellular engineering. Research in this area combines microfluidics, soft matter physics, cell biology, and imaging to investigate how structures assemble into cells, and how cells respond to external cues.

Recent work:

A nuclear F-actin scaffold stabilizes ribonucleoprotein droplets against gravity in large cells (Nature Cell Biology)

Princeton University’s core faculty members in this area:

Bob Austin
Cliff Brangwynne
Josh Shaevitz
Howard Stone
Jared E. Toettcher

Other faculty working in this area:

Sabine Petry