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EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sensor Technologies for a Healthy and Sustainable Future

Studying at Cambridge

 

Dr Kevin Chalut

Dr Kevin Chalut

Royal Society University Research Fellow

Principal Investigator in the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute


Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 337256

Biography:

Kevin Chalut is a biophysicist with a PhD in Physics from Duke University. Since 2011 he has been a Royal Society University Research Fellow. Kevin’s post-graduate background is in biotechnology and imaging, particularly with regards to detecting cancer and characterising stem cells. He is currently a group leader at both the Cavendish Laboratory and the Wellcome Trust-Medical Research Council Stem Cell Institute. 

His work focuses on developing novel biotechnology to investigate physical states of cells such as mechanics and subcellular structure; in the last few years he has focused almost exclusively on the biophysics of embryos and embryonic stem cells. The ultimate goal of his laboratory is to discover physical mechanisms and their importance to pluripotency, differentiation and reprogramming. 

Research Interests

Kevin Chalut's work focuses on using the tools and concepts of physics to study cell fate choice in stem cells and developing organisms, and to learn how to exert control over stem cell fate choice. His group primarily investigates how the mechanical microenvironment regulates fate decisions, and exactly how cells process information during that fate choice. With greater understanding of how to control cell fate choice and the tools they are using to do this, their ultimate goal is to drive new, physics- and engineering-based means to use stem cells for therapeutic use. An example of this is that the group believe that one of the problems that hinders stem cell therapy is that cells are being transplanted into tissue whose microenvironment is refractory to their function. This is particularly true for cell therapy in aged patients, where the microenvironment ages as well as the cells. The group are currently optimising the microenvironment for culturing cells to be transplanted, and developing a means to genetically engineer them so that they are insensitive to the deleterious aspects of the aged microenvironment. They believe that in doing so they can increase stem cell function upon transplant. This could have a positive impact on several diseases such as multiple sclerosis of liver fibrosis.