Dr Samantha Stehbens

Postdoctoral Research Officer

The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
Faculty of Medicine
s.stehbens@uq.edu.au
+61 7 344 36938

Overview

My research interests are focused the utilisation of live-cell quantitative microscopy to understand the adaptive role of the microtubule cytoskeleton and cell adhesion in the regulation of cell shape changes to facilitate motility in 2D and 3D environments.

My early research, in the laboratory of Professor Alpha Yap, focused on understanding how the microtubule cytoskeleton regulates E-cadherin-based cell-cell adhesion. This work was the first to discover that it was the dynamacity, not simply the tethering, of the microtubule cytoskeleton that was critical for E-cadherin accumulation and junctional reinforcement. This was in addition to defining a previously unappreciated role for the cytokinetic machinery (Ect2) in regulating cell-cell adhesion

Stehbens, S.J., …,and Yap, A. S. (2006). Dynamic Microtubules Regulate the Local Concentration of E-cadherin at Cell-Cell Contacts. Journal of Cell Science 119: 1801-1811

Ratheesh, A., … Stehbens, S.J., and Yap, A.S. (2012). Centralspindlin and α-catenin regulate Rho signalling at the epithelial zonula adherens. Nature Cell Biology 14(8): 818-28

Following my PhD, I relocated to the University of California San Francisco to work with Professor Torsten Wittmann, an expert in live-cell spinning disc microscopy and microtubule functions during cell motility. This work was dogma changing and established how the microtubule interacting protein, CLASP, facilitates targeted protease secretion at focal adhesions during epithelial sheet migration to mediate cell-matrix adhesion disassembly, from the inside-out. It includes the first observation of live, directed exocytosis of the matrix protease MT1MMP at focal adhesions. Our work pioneered the combined application of quantitative live-cell protein dynamics and the application of the novel super resolution imaging technique, SAIM (Scanning Angle Interference Microscopy). During my time at UCSF I learnt how to custom design live-cell microscopes with these live-cell imaging platforms now commercially distributed as the Spectral Diskovery and Andor Dragonfly.

Stehbens, S.J., … and Wittmann., T (2014). CLASPs link focal-adhesion-associated microtubule capture to localized exocytosis and adhesion site turnover. Nature Cell Biology 16(6): 558-570

Stehbens, S.J., and Witmann, T. (2014) Analysis of focal adhesion turnover: a quantitative live-cell imaging example. Methods in Cell Biology 123: 335-46

Stehbens, S.J., and Witmann, T. (2012) Targeting and transport: how microtubules control focal adhesion dynamics. Journal of Cell Biology 20, 198(4): 481-9

In 2017, I joined the Experimental Melanoma Group at UQDI, where I work together with Professor Nikolas Haass in applying innovative live-cell spinning disc confocal imaging and biosensor approaches to understand cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions of melanoma with its microenvironment. Our work explores the adaptive role that the microtubule cytoskeleton plays in facilitating cell shape plasticity, matrix remodelling and resistance to compression during migration in complex 3D matrix models of metastatic melanoma invasion.

Research Interests

  • Microtubules in Metastatic Melanoma Invasion
    Applying innovative live-cell spinning disc confocal imaging and biosensor approaches to understand cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions of melanoma with its microenvironment. Our work explores the adaptive role that the microtubule cytoskeleton plays in facilitating cell shape plasticity, matrix remodelling and resistance to compression during migration in complex 3D matrix models of metastatic melanoma invasion.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Science, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Science with Honours Class 1, The University of Queensland
  • Doctor of Philiosophy, The University of Queensland

Publications

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Grants

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Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Publications

Journal Article

Other Outputs

  • Samantha Stehbens (2008). Cadherin-Microtubule Cooperativity PhD Thesis, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland.

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors: