CMSA Active Matter Seminar: Force transmission informs the collective behavior of active cell layers


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November 3, 2022 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
CMSA, 20 Garden St, G10
Address: 20 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Siavash Monfared - Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen

Collective cell migration drives numerous physiological processes such as tissue morphogenesis, wound healing, tumor progression and cancer invasion. However, how the interplay of mechanical interactions and the modes of collective self-organization among cells informs such processes is yet to be established. In this talk, I will focus on the role of three-dimensional force transmission, from a theoretical and computational perspective, on two phenomena: (1) cell extrusion from a cellular monolayer and (2) density-independent solid-like to fluid-like transition of active cell layers. For the first topic, I will focus on how increasing cell-cell adhesion relative to cell-substrate adhesion enables cells to collectively exploit distinct mechanical pathways – leveraging defects in nematic and hexatic phases associated with cellular arrangement – to eliminate an unwanted cell. For the second topic, I will show how solid-like to fluid-like transition in active cell layers is linked to the percolation of isotropic stresses. This is achieved via two distinct and independent paths to model this transition by increasing (a) cell-cell adhesion and (b) active traction forces. Additionally, using finite-size scaling analyses, the phase transition associated with each path is mapped onto the 2D site percolation universality class. Our results highlight the importance of force transmission in informing the collective behavior of living cells and opens the door to new sets of questions for those interested in connecting the physics of cellular self-organization to the dynamics of biological systems.

This seminar will be held in person and on Zoom. For more information on how to join, please see: