I am currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Stuart Martin in the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Maryland School of Medcine. This position is part of the T32 Training Program in Cancer Biology. Through this program, I am continuing my study of the dynamics of cell migration with a focus on understanding breast cancer metastasis.
Phase contrast image of migrating MCF10A cells (human epithelial cells) overlaid with a particle image velocimetry (PIV) flow field. Scale bar indicates 100 micrometers. In my PhD thesis work, I studied changes in cell migration behavior during cancer progression, and in particular, how this migration changes in large collective groups. We developed quantitative image analysis techniques that allowed us to study cell migration using nonlinear dynamics tools that were developed to study physical systems such as fluid flows or sheared grains. These methods are discussed in our publication in the New Journal of Physics focus issue on the Physics of Cancer.
We used image processing and analysis tools we developed to study cells of varying malignancy. Studying varying cell lines will allow us to understand how physical forces in the cells' environment (such as cell-cell adhesion) change collective migration behavior. Our work on the role of E-cadherin (a cell-cell adhesion molecule) was published in Convergent Science Physical Oncology.
- R. M. Lee, D. H. Kelley, K. N. Nordstrom, N. T. Ouellette, and W. Losert. Quantifying stretching and rearrangement in epithelial sheet migration. New Journal of Physics, 15(2):025036, 2013. doi:10.1088/1367-2630/15/2/025036
- R. M. Lee, C. H. Stuelten, C. A. Parent, and W. Losert. Collective cell migration over long time scales reveals distinct phenotypes. Convergent Science Physical Oncology, 2:025001, 2016. doi:10.1088/2057-1739/2/2/025001
- R. M. Lee, Guided Migration and Collective Behavior: Cell Dynamics during Cancer Progression. Digital Repository at the University of Maryland (Thesis), 2016. doi:10.13016/M2D81H