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Research Fellows Directory

Kevin Chalut

Dr Kevin Chalut

Research Fellow


University of Cambridge

Research summary

We are using our expertise in developing new technology to observe and quantify biological behaviour to better understand a medically and biologically important biological system: embryonic stem (ES) cells. ES cells have the fascinating property that they can maintain a founder population of stem cells while simultaneously generating cells that will become the tissue cells of the organism. It is not known how they manage this function, though there have been great advances in understanding the chemical and biological aspects. Our primary research goal is to better understand the physical aspects of ES cells in order to gain a fuller picture of their function. The physical properties we are investigating in a mouse model system are, for instance, how soft they are, their composition, and how their composition changes as they move from being ES cells to becoming more mature tissue cells. We are developing biotechnology that can assess these physical properties in a minimally invasive manner, both in culture conditions and within the embryo itself, and can link these physical properties causally to the biochemical properties of the ES cells. The work we are doing will lead to a better comprehension of stem cell function, and will lead to techniques to improve methods for manipulating ES cells to become the mature tissue cells that are desired in particular medical applications. Our biotechnology will also be translated to the clinic where it can be used for analysis and manipulation of ES cell populations. The impact of this research could be wide-reaching for medicine in that we can improve techniques to regenerate lost or diseased tissues in patients.

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Mechanical signalling and transitions in pluripotent stem cells

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Oct 2016 - Sep 2019

Value: £305,757

Developing photonics tools for understanding the physical world of stem cells

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Oct 2011 - Sep 2016

Value: £515,076.55