Exploring mechano-immunology for clues in the fight against brain tumors

Meenal Datta, assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of Notre Dame, College of Engineering, is changing the way we think about treating brain tumors, especially glioblastoma (GGM) – one of the most complex and deadly cancers that accounts for approximately 48 percent of all malignant brain tumors. To improve the length of survival outcomes, which averages 12 to 18 months, Datta aims to understand and target the novel and biophysical interactions in the brain, specifically in the GBM microenvironment.

Datta was recently awarded a National Institutes of Health Career Transition Award through the National Cancer Institute for her work at the intersection of mechanical engineering and cancer immunology. Through her research work, she is hoping to improve the outcomes for GBM patients and is especially interested in how tissue mechanics plan a role in disease progression and treatment response or resistance in difficult-to-treat cancers, like GBM. Datta and her team in the Tumor Immune Microenvironment and Mechanics (TIME) Lab , will collaborate on this work with the Notre Dame Integrated Imaging Facility, Harper Cancer Research Institute, the Institute for Precision Health at Notre Dame, the Lucy Family Institute for Data and Society, and the Indiana CTSI.

Read more about this research.