Mechanobiology, Mathematical Modeling and Simulation of Forces During Tissue Morphogenesis
During tissue morphogenesis, individual cells self-assemble into complex tissues and organs with highly specialized forms and functions. Such precise sculpting is driven by forces generated within cells and transmitted between neighboring cells. While many of the proteins and chemical cues that regulate force production during morphogenesis have been identified, little is known quantitatively about how these mechanical processes are coupled across cells in a developing tissue.
The goal of this project is to develop new tools that will help answering the fundamental question of how cells coordinate forces across a tissue during morphogenetic rearrangements. We will use a dual approach that relies on one side on new optical and chemical tools in conjunction with classical genetic approaches to quantitatively analyze how the cytoskeleton coordinates forces across cells during morphogenetic tissue rearrangements. This mechanobiological approach will provide the quantitative data needed to develop and simulate mathematical models to study how globally patterned forces contribute to collective cell mechanics affecting tissue development. Together, this interdisciplinary approach will allow us to quantitatively address the fundamental principles underlying force-control during tissue organization via MTs.