Emma Legait

Deciphering the self-organizing principles governing the cellular composition and growth of tumors

Team: Cédric Maurange (IBDM) - Raphaël Clément (IBDM)

Her background

October 2022 - present | CENTURI PhD student

2019 - 2021 | Master of Imaging, Robotics, Engineering for the Living (IRIV) - Telecom Physique Strasbourg (France)

2018 - 2021 | Engineering Diploma - Telecom Physique Strasbourg (France)

About her PhD project

Unlike developing tissues, tumors have long been considered as highly disorganized tissues. However, recent studies suggest that some tumors may be more organized than initially envisaged. In particular, tumors are often composed of different cell types with different proliferative properties, and it has been shown that the cellular composition is robustly maintained over time. However, the mecanisms regulating the cellular composition of tumors are unknown. Using a simple model of brain tumors in Drosophila, we have demonstrated that the growth and cellular composition is predictable and driven by a fine-tuned hierarchical scheme of cell divisions (DOI: 10.7554/eLife.50375). Moreover, we have observed a typical spatial organization of tumor cells suggesting robust underlying self-organizing rules. Using computer simulations combined with genetic manipulations and live imaging, our aim is to investigate whether the cellular composition and the growth of tumors is governed by emerging properties of the tumor cell populations.