About us


An interdisciplinary research centre embedded within the Faculty of Life Sciences at The University of Manchester.

Research Themes

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Vision: To determine the mechanisms underpinning how cell-matrix interactions control normal tissue formation and function, and how their disruption causes disease. 

For everyone


A  recent ISSF funded collaboration between researchers in the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research and artist Sally Gilford comes to fruition in this exhibition, Immortality II, and is a great example of creative engagement with research and partnerships between researchers and creative practitioners. All very welcome. Preview Thursday 26th November.  Read more

Our discoveries

Our core facilities

Our public engagement activities

Our research

Our publications

Latest News


Grants awarded:  Sarah Woolner with Georgina Stooke-Vaughan and Dave Spiller, Wellcome Trust ISSF Strategic Award in Single Cell Research, November 2015-November 2016, Developing approaches to combine imaging and biomechanics in the Light Sheet Microscope.       Ahmet Ucar with Charles Streuli and Rob Clarke, Wellcome Trust ISSF Strategic Award in Single Cell Research, November 2015-November 2016, Identification of exclusive breast cancer stem cell markers at single cell resolution Read more

Upcoming events

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"ECM remodeling during cancer progression" In our group, we try to understand how cancer spreads through the body (a process called metastasis) as this is responsible for over 90% of cancer patient deaths. Metastasis is strongly influenced by the tumor microenvironment. We study how cells sense and respond to the tumor microenvironment in such a way as to become more aggressive, with a particular focus on cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions. Read more

Latest Discoveries


Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have great therapeutic potential in regenerative medicine, but improved understanding of mechanisms that control their fate are needed. MSCs appear contractile in adherent cultures, yet can differentiate along mesenchymal lineages. Far less is known about their plasticity in 3D cultures   Read more


The ubiquitous polysaccharide hyaluronan (HA) has an essential role in the organisation of matrix structure via its interaction with specific HA-binding proteins (HABPs). TSG-6 is an HABP that is expressed in response to inflammatory signals and protects tissues from the damaging effects of inflammation. Our previous work has found that TSG-6 can cause a major reorganisation of HA-rich matrices, but the precise mechanism underlying this was unknown.  Read more