Tissue Mechanics Lab
The control of tissue size and shape is a fundamental problem that remains a remarkable mystery. In our lab we are interested in understanding how tissues achieve their correct size, shape and complex three dimensional architecture, both during normal development, and during regenerative growth. The genetic and biochemical control of tissue growth and regeneration has been extensively studied over the last century, but it is still unclear how the physical and mechanical properties of cells and tissues contribute to how organs are formed and sculpted. What is clear is that in order to change the three-dimensional architecture of any structure, there must be forces, external and/or internal, acting on the system. Therefore, to fully understand how a tissue reaches its appropriate size, pattern and architecture, we are not only studying its genetic and biochemical properties, but also its physical and mechanical characteristics, and in particular the interplay between the mechanical cues and the biochemical signaling pathways.
We use an interdisciplinary approach, combining Drosophila genetics, live imaging, automated image analysis, experimental biophysics, engineering and computational modeling, to understand the importance of mechanical forces in controlling tissue growth and regeneration and how these forces in turn influence gene expression and signaling pathways.
Some examples of our work