SCIENTIFIC CONTRIBUTION

Published Work

Surabhi Sonam has been published in a number of leading journals and periodicals and has gained a name as a leading voice in their area. She has been privileged to collaborate with some outstanding academics.

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EPITHELIAL HEALTHCARE

Collective epithelial behaviors are essential for the development of lumens in organs. However, conventional assays of planar systems fail to replicate cell cohorts of tubular structures that advance in concerted ways on out-of-plane curved and confined surfaces, such as ductal elongation in vivo. Here, we mimic such coordinated tissue migration by forming lumens of epithelial cell sheets inside microtubes of 1–10 cell lengths in diameter. We show that these
cell tubes reproduce the physiological apical–basal polarity, and have actin alignment, cell orientation, tissue organization, and migration modes that depend on the extent of tubular confinement and/or curvature. In contrast to flat constraint, the cell sheets in a highly constricted smaller microtube demonstrate slow motion with periodic relaxation, but fast overall movement in large microtubes. Altogether, our findings provide insights into the emerging migratory modes for epithelial migration and growth under tubular confinement, which are reminiscent of the in vivo scenario.

CELL AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

Extracellular matrix (ECM) of the human Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) influences intracellular tension and is known to regulate stem cell fate. However, little is known about the physiological conditions in the bone marrow, where external forces such as fluid shear stress, apart from the physical characteristics of the ECM, influence stem cell response. Here, we hypothesize that substrate topography and fluid shear stress alter the cellular contractile forces, influence the genetic expression of the stem cells and hence alter their lineage. When fluid shear stress was applied, human MSCs with higher contractility (seeded on 1μm wells) underwent osteogenesis, whereas those with lower contractility (seeded on 2μm gratings) remained multipotent. Compared to human MSCs seeded on gratings, those seeded on wells exhibited altered alignment and an increase in the area and number of focal adhesions. When actomyosin contractility was inhibited, human MSCs did not exhibit differentiation, regardless of the topographical feature they were being cultured on. We conclude that the stresses generated by the applied fluid flow impinge on cell contractility to drive the stem cell differentiation via the contractility of the stem cells.

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MICROFLUIDICS

I developed a microfluidic system to apply fluid shear stress on single cells. I also fabricated micro- and nanoscale topographical patterns inside microfluidic channels, developed by soft lithography techniques, to control cellular contractility and examined stem cell fate using live cell imaging, immunocytochemical techniques, confocal microscopy, atomic force microscopy and quantification of genetic expression (qPCR).

 
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PUBLICATIONS

 

INVESTIGATING THE NATURE OF ACTIVE FORCES IN TISSUES REVEALS HOW CONTRACTILE CELLS CAN FORM EXTENSILE MONOLAYERS

NATURE MATERIALS, 2021

L BALASUBRAMANIAM, A DOOSTMOHAMMADI, TB SAW, GHN SANKARA NARAYANA, R MUELLER, T DANG, M THOMAS, S GUPTA, S SONAM, AS YAP, Y TOYAMA, RM MEGE, J YEOMANS, B LADOUX. 

EMERGENT PATTERNS OF COLLECTIVE CELL MIGRATION UNDER TUBULAR CONFINEMENT

NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 2017

W XI*, S SONAM*, TB SAW*, B LADOUX, CT LIM.

SOFT TUBULAR MICROFLUIDICS FOR 2D AND 3D APPLICATIONS 

PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES (PNAS), 2017

W XI, F KONG, JC YEO, L YU, S SONAM, M DAO, X GONG, CT LIM

CELL CONTRACTILITY ARISING FROM TOPOGRAPHY AND SHEAR FLOW DETERMINES HUMAN MESENCHYMAL STEM CELL FATE 

SCIENTIFIC REPORTS. 2016

S SONAM, SR SATHE, EKF YIM, MP SHEETZ, CT LIM

LARGE-AREA, PERIODIC, HEXAGONAL WRINKLES ON NANOCRYSTALLINE GRAPHITIC FILM

ADVANCED FUNCTIONAL MATERIALS, 2015

Y LIU, KENRY, Y GUO, S SONAM, SK HONG, MH NAI, CT NAI, L GAO, J CHEN, BJ CHO, CT LIM, W GUO, KP LOH.  

MICROFLUIDICS FOR APPLICATIONS IN CELL MECHANICS AND MECHANOBIOLOGY

CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR BIOENGINEERING, 2011

HW HOU, WC LEE, MC LEONG, S SONAM, SRK VEDULA, CT LIM

DIRECT MEASUREMENT OF NEAR-NANONEWTON FORCES DEVELOPED BY SELF-ORGANIZING ACTOMYOSIN FIBRES BOUND Α-CATENIN

BIOLOGY OF THE CELL, 2021

S SONAM, C VIGOUROUX, A JÉGOU, G ROMET-LEMONNE, C LE CLAINCHE, B LADOUX, RM MÈGE. 

CONFERENCE INTERACTIONS

 
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DESIGN THINKING IN TISSUE ENGINEERING. INVITED KEYNOTE ADDRESS. 8TH BIHAR SCIENCE CONFERENCE 2020. AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. PATNA, BIHAR.

December 3rd-5th, 2020

INTERCELLULAR STRESS CAUSES EPITHELIAL HOLE FORMATION. POSTER PRESENTATION. DEVELOPMENTAL AND CELL BIOLOGY OF THE FUTURE. PARIS, FRANCE

March 27-29th, 2019

IN VITRO RECONSTITUTION OF CELL ADHESION MACHINERY. POSTER PRESENTATION. WORLD CONGRESS OF BIOMECHANICS 2018. DUBLIN, IRELAND

July 8-12, 2018

ACTIN ORGANIZATION DURING COLLECTIVE EPITHELIAL CELL SHEET MIGRATION IN PDMS MICROTUBES. ORAL PRESENTATION. EMBO| EMBL SYMPOSIUM: ACTIN IN ACTION: FROM MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR FUNCTIONS. EMBL HEIDELBERG, GERMANY.

Sept 7-10, 2016

EFFECTS OF SHEAR STRESS ON STEM CELL CONTRACTILITY AND FATE.POSTER. THE DYNAMIC ARCHITECTURE OF CELLS AND TISSUES. JOINT WEIZMANN AND MECHANOBIOLOGY INSTITUTE CONFERENCE. MECHANOBIOLOGY INSTITUTE, SINGAPORE

Oct 21-24, 2013

EFFECTS OF EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX PROTEIN ON SHEAR STRESS MEDIATED STEM CELL DIFFERENTIATION.POSTER. 15TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (ICBME) 2013. NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE

Dec 4 – 7, 2013