• Simulation of tissue morphogenesis
  • Cell mechanics: cell polarization, motility and deformation
  • Dynamics of moving contact lines
  • Morphology of sheared foam
  • Interfacial dynamics in complex fluids
  • Self-assembly of micro-particles and droplets
  • Drop formation in microfluidic channels

  • (in collaboration with Len Pismen of the Technion)

    Tissue growth and morphogenesis are fundamental processes in developmental biology. On the cellular level, cell size growth, cell division, and cell shape changes are controlled by signaling molecules that, in turn, are expressed according to a genetic blueprint. On the tissue level, different cell types arrange themselves in spatial patterns that eventually form the tissue or organ. Evidently, morphogenesis involves biochemical and mechanical mechanisms on several length and time scales. As an example, a schematic of the evolving epithelial morphology, triggered by loss of Dpp signaling, is shown below.

    (Apical constriction and axial shortening produce an apical epithelial invagination. Adapted from Widmann and Dahmann with permission, © 2009 The Company of Biologists.)

    In a recent project, we built a mathematical model for dorsal closure during the embryogenesis of Drosophila. The amnioserosa tissue contracts through several phases during dorsal closure under the coordinated actions of the cell shape pulsation and "purse-string" contraction of a supracellular actin cable. Each is the result of mechano-chemical coupling involving intricate signaling pathways and actomyosin remodeling. In the following movies, the prediction of the model (left) is compared with an experimental observation (right) of Blanchard et al. (image and video used with permission, © 2010 The Company of Biologists).
    video video
    Ongoing work includes a modeling and computational project on the formation of the wing disc of the Drosophila that aims to integrate the intracellular biochemistry, cell deformation and motility, and large-scale tissue formation and growth. Moreover, we expect the simulations to yield insights on the multi-scale coupling that apply to other processes such as cell sorting and wound healing.

Department of ChBE / Department of Mathematics / Fluids Lab / James J. Feng / Research