For any given cell, the nucleus — the home of most of a cell’s genetic material — generally takes a fairly consistent shape. But when things go wrong and disease takes hold, the nucleus can become deformed.
UCLA’s Amy Rowat explains how an enlarged nucleus is a telltale sign of something gone awry. Corrupted, cancerous cells take on a different texture than healthy cells. They are softer and more malleable, or, as Amy puts it, more “squishy.”
Her research investigates the texture and squishiness of cells in our body, which can have a huge impact on treatments for cancer and genetic disorders. Using tiny instruments, this change in cellular flexibility can be used to diagnose disease, and could one day help determine which treatments might be most suitable for each patient.