Mechanics of growth, morphogenesis and evolution of biological solids


Franck Vernerey, University of Colorado – Boulder

Andrej Kosmrlj, Princeton University

Corey Neu, University of Colorado – Boulder

Orit Peleg, University of Colorado – Boulder

Zi Chen, Dartmouth College


Biological structures, from the molecular to the organ level present an impressive diversity of forms and sizes that are typically associated to functional needs. Of particular interest is that these structure develop without the coordination of an external or centralized system, hinting that growth development is both encoded in biological units making the structure (cells) and shaped by the external environment.
This symposium aims to provide a forum in which to discuss the physical, mechanical and mechanobiological origin of how these forms develop and evolve over time, from a mechanical, mathematical and experimental perspective. We therefore welcome contributions that discuss growth mechanisms that span multiple scales. At the level of single cells, this includes the mechanical processes driving the active cytoskeleton, cell division and extension growth in the wall of plant, bacterial and fungal cells. At the level of cell populations, topics of interest include cell-cell interactions and the rule by which a cell aggregation leads to growth and morphogenetic events, such as seen in epithelial sheets and tumor spheroids. At the tissue level, the symposium aims to discuss the application of continuum growth model that describe how tissues growth and adapt their topology and size as a response to external stimuli. At a macroscopic scale, we finally welcome contributions that discuss the collective behavior and evolution of population of connected organisms (ants, bees,…) and the mechanisms by which they can generate a solid super-organism that adapts its geometry to the environment. Of
particular interest will be contributions that span several scales, in order to elucidate the link between molecular/cellular mechanisms and the emerging behavior of a population of individuals (molecules, cells, organisms).