Soft and Living Matter Seminar: Friday, October 4 - How do collections of cells and fiber networks become rigid?

Event Date: 

Friday, October 4, 2019 - 1:30pm

Event Location: 

  • 1601 Elings Hall - CNSI
  • Soft and Living Matter Seminar

In biological processes like embryonic development and in cancer metastasis, collective groups of cells must dramatically reorganize and move over substantial distances like a fluid. In other cases, such as the mature lining of the human lung, it is functionally important for the cells to behave as an intact solid, and still other tissues appear to straddle a fluid-solid transition.  From a biological perspective, an important question is how single cells change their properties in order to control collective behavior at the scale on an organ or organism. From a physical- and materials science perspective, an important question is what fundamental mechanisms drive the rigidity transition in these new types of active materials.  I will discuss our efforts to answer these questions using theoretical and computational models in close collaboration with experiments, and highlight a surprising connection between the behavior of groups of cells and fiber networks.  I will also discuss our nascent work to understand the interactions between groups of cells and the fiber networks in which they are often embedded.