Doctoral Training in Mechanobiology and Bioengineering
Type of activity
AGENCIA ESTATAL DE INVESTIGACION
Funding entity code
Computational methods are becoming increasingly necessary for analysing and addressing biological problems involved in embryogenesis, dysfunctions, malformations, o simply for understanding the underlying mechanisms. In order to comply with this need, a multidisciplinary training of prospective researchers and professionals is required, with skills that span the biological processes in mechanobiology and computational techniques. The European project that will be submitted to the call MSCA Doctorates, aims at training doctoral students that will be capable of interpreting, simulating and predicting the response of biological systems where the mechanical component has an important role. Although part of the training focuses on the computational techniques, candidates are also exposed to experimental methods for data visualisation and analysis (light sheet, 2-foton microscopy, traction force microscopy, optical tweezers, microbeads, etc.). This manifold training is motivated by the coupling in biology between shape, force and function, so that the mastering of imaging, signalling, testing and modelling is what enables the understanding and prediction of the cellular systems. Multidisciplinary training entails the involvement of multiple organisations and specialists: universities, with a large experience in doctoral training, companies, institutes and spin-offs specialised in imaging and microscopy, or leading centres in experimental testing and mechanobiology. The proposed doctoral programme gathers all these entities, with secondments in at least two countries and universities. The objective of this proposal is to contact the research leaders, and coordinate and organise the interaction between their organisations in order to construct an effective and attractive training programme in mechanobiolgoy and bioengineering. The biological problems that candidates must face are multiscale and diverse: organoid formation, embryo development, wound healing, cell signalling, cell motility, cancer progression or vasculogenesis, to name a few. Furthermore, a multidisciplinary approach must be applied, upon which biochemical, mechanical or genetic processes must be simulated. This wide spectrum demands an accurate planning of the research lines and the partners involved in them. In this project we will exploit the expertise and know-how of the partners in order to offer up to date experimental techniques and advanced computational methods that each researcher requires, and also expose all the candidates to a larger picture of other methods employed in the programme. In this manner, specialised training and wide exposure are combined. During the project, the research team will visit most of the laboratories, institutions and companies in the consortium. Those that better match the research lines will be gathered also according to the mutual interests. Collaboration between group leaders will be fostered. We also aim at strengthening and promoting discussions that will eventually give rise to new strategies and research directions. Meetings and seminars are planned in order to create an attractive doctorate programme and also increase internationalise the coordinating institution (Unviersitat Politècnica de Catalunya), and study different channels to disseminate and promote research outreach at to non-specialised audiences.