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The development of living organisms is governed by the production of proteins acting as signals across tissues, thereby triggering cell differentiation. Yet, changes in protein production induce cell shape changes, thus force generation and propagation, within the constrained geometry of the embryo. As such, understanding the mechanics of development is of crucial importance to unveil the force diagram which allows organisms to acquire their functional shape.

To this aim, in collaboration with the group of Carl-Philipp Heisenberg at IST Austria, we made use of a combination of experiments and (active-gel) theory to reconstruct the diagram of forces governing zebrafish gastrulation and, more recently, to connect the material properties to the expression of specific proteins.

Related publications:

  • H. Morita et al., Dev. Cell, 2017 [PDF]

  • M. Smutny et al., Nat. Cell Biol., 2017 [PDF]

  • N. Petridou et al., Nat. Cell Biol., 2019 [PDF]

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