Couchman Group

The Couchman laboratory is focused on how cell behavior is regulated by interactions with the extracellular matrix with which cells and tissues are in contact. The extracellular matrix, once considered inert, is now known to be a key influence on survival, proliferation, differentiation, adhesion and migration. Receptors at the cell surface are the sensors of the environment and we aim to understand how they function.

Figure 1. Left – diagram of syndecan structure, showing transmembrane core protein to which several heparan sulphate polysaccharides are attached externally.  Right - immunofluorescence image of fibroblasts in a fibronectin matrix (blue) showing the actin bundles (red) terminating at focal adhesions (green). Syndecan-4 promotes focal adhesion assembly.