BIRS Workshop Lecture Videos

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BIRS Workshop Lecture Videos

Mathematical modeling of cell shape and collective cell behavior due to cell-ECM cross-talk Merks, Roeland


To form patterns in vivo or in vitro, cells must carefully coordinate their behavior. Here I will present mathematical modeling approaches for modeling cell-ECM cross-talk. The models predict how the ECM can regulate the shape of individual cells, and how it can coordinate collective cell behavior as it occurs, e.g., during the formation of blood vessels or the alignment of cells in muscles and tendons. After discussing these initial models, I will show how detailed measurements and new mathematical models of the mechanosensitive kinetics of focal adhesions have helped us to model cell-ECM interactions in more biophysical detail. I will sketch how this approach allows us to mechanistically predict changes in cell shape and in collective cell behavior from changes in focal adhesion kinetics, e.g., due to genetic knockouts or pharmacological treatment. I will end by showing our recent steps to include anisotropy of the cytoskeleton into our models. Altogether, our models help explain how local, cell-ECM interactions assist in global coordination of cell behavior during multicellular patterning.

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