University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Theoretical Physics Seminars > Role of Mechanics and Geometry in Cellular Information Processing

Role of Mechanics and Geometry in Cellular Information Processing

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  • UserFabian Spill (Maths, Birmingham)
  • ClockThursday 26 March 2020, 13:15-14:45
  • HouseTheory Library.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Hannah Price.

In Biology, cells can be seen as the fundamental units of life. They can perform a wide range of functions in response to different inputs. For example, stem cells can differentiate into different cell types corresponding to different organs, immune cells can respond to different pathogens, or bacteria can grow by consuming a range of different nutrients, and therefore, need to switch their metabolism. Systems biology is the quantitative field that studies how cells make decisions in response to different inputs from their environment. Here, the focus is mostly on molecular inputs that are processed by intracellular signal pathways. For example, molecular factors may induce stem cell differentiation, and nutrients may reprogram metabolic pathways. Recent research has demonstrated that mechanical forces or geometric cues from the cellular environment may also reprogram cell behaviour. For example, experimentalists have shown that stem cells can differentiate into different cells depending on the stiffness of their environment. Interestingly, stem cells differentiated into bone-derived cells on stiff environments, but into fat-derived cells on soft tissues. I will introduce mathematical models that are aimed to understand how geometric or mechanical cues affect cell behaviour through reprogramming intracellular signalling pathways that dictate their behaviour.

This talk is part of the Theoretical Physics Seminars series.

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