Okay, they’re not actual seatbelts. They’re a special type of cellular bond that was discovered by the research team headed by Sanjeevi Sivasankar, an Iowa State associate professor of physics and astronomy. These catch bonds, or “nanoscale seatbelts” as Sanjeevi and his team refer to them, strengthen when they’re tugged — like a seatbelt. They can be used to hold cancer cells in place and prevent cells from breaking off to infect other cells in the body.

“This is the beginning of a lot to be discovered about the role of these types of interactions in healthy physiology as well as diseases like cancer,” Sivasankar said.

Amazing breakthroughs by adventurous minds at Iowa State like Sivasankar are capturing the attention — and grants — from the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. Best of all, our students get to be at ground zero, witnessing the development of these discoveries right in our labs. And they are learning from the very professors who are changing the world around us.

Sanjeevi and his team are continuing their adventure of cellular discoveries in their lab. So buckle up. It’s going to be a great ride.

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