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Department of Mathematical Sciences

Seminar Archives

On this page you can find information about seminars in this and previous academic years, where available on the database.

Biomathematics Seminar: Tissue tectonics: bridging cell and tissue behaviours.

Presented by Alexander Kabla, Cambridge University, Engineering Department, Mechanics and Materials Division

17 November 2009 14:15 in CM107


Embryological tissues undergo massive morphological changes that present
a challenge to a mechanistic understanding of developmental biology. One
outstanding issue concerns the mechanisms through which molecular
information leads to the individual or collective movement of cells that
robustly shape tissues. Recent imaging and computational advances now
allow us to track thousands of cells and monitor their shapes and
reorganisation over time. However, a comprehensive framework to
unambiguously measure and link cell behaviour to tissue morphogenesis is
still lacking.

We present here recent progress to quantitatively analyse morphogenesis
and bridge cell and tissue behaviours at an intermediate level of local
domains containing ten to thirty cells. By characterizing the local
deformation in terms of (i) the relative motion of cell centroids within
a domain, and (ii) the evolution of individual cell shapes, we quantify
first the rate at which the tissue locally deforms along any arbitrary
direction. The deformation of the tissue is then decomposed into two main
components: one related with cell shape change, and the other with
cell-cell slippage. This approach provides in particular a generic
definition of intercalation that is amenable to quantitative studies.

This multiscale approach works with unprecedented spatial and temporal
resolution. It dramatically extends the scope of phenotypic descriptions
available to biologists and thus provides a suitable framework for
extracting representative features and for quantitatively comparing
mutant phenotypes or species. This opens up new opportunities to
understand the cellular mechanisms underlying tissue deformation and to
identify the physical and biological parameters controlling embryo
morphogenesis.

Contact anne.taormina@durham.ac.uk or buddhapriya.chakrabarti@durham.ac.uk for more information