Otger Campàs, University of California at Santa Barbara, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Physical forces play a critical role in the shaping of cells and tissues. Despite their relevance in sculpting both individual cells and functional embryonic structures, very little is known about the mechanisms by which physical forces affect/control developmental processes, mainly because it has not been possible to measure cellular forces within developing tissuesin vivo. In this talk, I will describe the role of physics in sculpting individual walled cells, such as bacterial, fungal or plant cells, and show that the interplay between growth and mechanics of the cell wall determines, to a large extent, the cell shape. I will also describe a new technique that we have recently developed which permits direct quantification of physical forces in situ within living tissues and developing organs. This technique allows us to study the patterns of physical forces sculpting tissues in living embryos as well as the non-equilibrium properties of living matter.