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Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience



Exploring the role of mechanics in nervous system development

Neurons in the eye extend axons across massive distances to reach their synaptic target in the brain. Most studies of this process have focused on how chemical molecules guide axon navigation accurately. Our lab has shown that local tissue stiffness in the brain also regulates the pathfinding decisions of these axons.

Hence, in my project, I am studying the interplay between these mechanical and chemical signals during visual system development.


Kristian Franze


Key publications: 

Thompson AJ*, Pillai EK*, Dimov IB, Foster SK, Holt CE, Franze K, (2019), Rapid changes in tissue mechanics regulate cell behaviour in the developing embryonic brain, eLife 8:e39356, DOI:10.7554/eLife.39356

Koser DE, Thompson AJ, Foster SK, Dwivedy A, Pillai EK, Sheridan G, Svoboda H, Viana M, Costa LF, Guck J, Holt CE, Franze K, (2016), Mechanosensing is critical for axon growth in the developing brain, Nature Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1038/nn.4394

PhD candidate
 Eva K Pillai

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