Britta Trappmann

Research Topic

We investigate the impact of extracellular matrix properties on cell behavior, in particular in the context of angiogenesis. Specifically, we study how the interplay of matrix mechanics, degradability and adhesivity controls angiogenic sprouting. Since these parameters cannot be separated in in vivo tissues, we develop novel synthetic hydrogels with independently tunable matrix properties.

By integrating our hydrogels into microfluidic devices, we are able to closely mimic the process of angiogenic sprouting within a controllable environment. Taking a highly interdisciplinary approach, our research combines mechanistic cell biology studies with novel materials chemistry and platform engineering.


1. Trappmann B, Baker BM, Polacheck WJ, Choi CK, Burdick JA, Chen CS. Matrix degradability controls multicellularity of 3D cell migration. Nat Commun. 2017; 8: 371.

2. Baker BM, Trappmann B, Wang WY, Sakar MS, Kim IL, Shenoy VB, Burdick JA, Chen CS. Cell-mediated fiber recruitment drives extracellular matrix mechanosensing in engineered fibrillar microenvironments. Nat Mater. 2015; 14: 1262-1268.

3. Abhilash AS, Baker BM, Trappmann B, Chen CS, Shenoy VB. Remodeling of fibrous extracellular matrices by contractile cells: predictions from discrete fiber network simulations. Biophys J. 2014; 107: 1829-1840.

4. Blakely BL, Dumelin CE, Trappmann B, McGregor LM, Choi CK, Anthony PC, Duesterberg VK, Baker BM, Block SM, Liu DR, Chen CS. A DNA-based molecular probe for optically reporting cellular traction forces. Nat Methods. 2014; 11: 1229-1232.

5. Trappmann B, Chen CS. How cells sense extracellular matrix stiffness: a material’s perspective. Curr Opin Biotech. 2013; 24: 948-953.

6. Baker BM, Trappmann B, Stapleton SC, Toro E, Chen CS. Microfluidics embedded within extracellular matrix to define vascular architectures and pattern diffusive gradients. Lab Chip. 2013; 13: 3246-3252.

7. Trappmann B, Gautrot JE, Connelly JT, Strange DGT, Li Y, Oyen ML, Cohen Stuart MA, Boehm H, Li B, Vogel V, Spatz JP, Watt FM, Huck WTS. Extracellular-matrix tethering regulates stem cell fate. Nat Mater. 2012; 11: 642-649.