Alexandra Boussommier

Alexandra Boussommier-Calleja is a postdoctoral fellow at Massachussetts Institute of Technology, in Prof. Kamm’s laboratory, that is joint between the Mechanical and Bio-engineering department. Alexandra completed her biomedical engineering studies first at Ecole Polytechnique Federale of Lausanne (Switzerland) for her Bachelor and at Imperial College London (United Kingdom) for her Master. She pursued her doctorate studies at Imperial College London, on the biomechanics of glaucoma in Dr. Overby’s laboratory, studying mouse eyes’ resistance as a model for human eye’s pressure regulation, earning several awards to support her work. She decided to broaden her expertise in biomechanics from the tissue to the cellular level by joining Prof. Kamm’s lab, who is an expert in studying cellular mechanics using microfluidic models, especially for cancer research. Shortly after joining the lab, she obtained a postdoctoral fellowship from the prestigious Cancer Research Institute to study the role of immune cells in cancer metastasis using microfluidic models, steering her work towards the emerging and promising field of cancer immunotherapy. In particular, her interest lies in developing microfluidic assays to recapitulate key aspects of metastatic patient’s tissues with their own cells. This is important as cancer is a very heterogeneous disease that heavily depends on its micro-environment and will therefore greatly vary from patient to patient – yet current therapies are standardized across patients, partly because there is no technology to quickly test each patient’s unique response to drugs. The proposed micro-models can fill this gap: they will be used to test immunotherapies so as to tailor patients’ diagnostics and treatments to their unique needs, and thus advance towards personalized medicine.