Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type



Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Maribel Vazquez

Second Advisor

Mitchell Schaffler


Microfluidices, Gradients, Pediatric Cancer, Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF)


Medulloblastoma (MB) is a malignant pediatric brain tumor known for its aggressive metastatic potential. Despite the well-documented migration of MB cells to other parts of the brain and spinal column, MB chemotaxis is poorly understood. Herein, we examined the in vitro migratory and cellular responses of MB-derived cells to external signaling of Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF-BB), and the stromal cell-derived factors 1-alpha (SDF-1). Experiments utilized transwell assays and immunocytochemistry to identify receptor activation in MB migration, and used a microfluidic platform to examine directionality, trajectory, and gradient- dependence of motile cells. Data illustrates that MB-derived cells respond strongly to EGF in a dosage and gradient-dependent manner with increased EGF-R activation, and show that high EGF gradient fields cause an increased number of cells to migrate longer directed distances. Our results provide evidence that EGF and its receptor play an important role than previously documented in MB chemotactic migration and should be considered for developing migration-target therapies against MB metastasis.



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