Institute for the Physics of Living Systems


IPLS Seminar: Prof. Luis M Escudero (University of Seville)

22 November 2023, 11:00 am–12:00 pm


Title: Morphology patterns, scutoids, and AI tools to uncover epithelial architecture.

Event Information

Open to



Yanlan Mao


2nd Floor Seminar Room (2.30), LMCB
MRC Building
Gower Street

Abstract: As animals develop, the initial simple planar epithelia of embryos must be sculpted into complex three-dimensional tissues. Tissue morphogenesis is intimately linked to the changes in shape and organization of individual cells. Within curved epithelia, cells have the capacity to intercalate along their apicobasal axes, adopting a geometric configuration named as "scutoid," which minimizes energy within the tissue. The identification of the scutoidal shape underscores the utility of accurately depict the shape of epithelial cells to undertand the morphogenetic processes. Towards this objective, we introduce CartoCell, a deep-learning-based pipeline that uses small datasets to generate accurate labels for hundreds of whole 3D epithelial cysts. Our method detects the realistic morphology of epithelial cells and their contacts in the 3D structure of the tissue. CartoCell enables the quantification of geometric and packing features at the cellular level. I will present data showing morphological patterns in epithelial tissues captured using our approach. Additionally, despite several geometric and biophysical factors being linked to the appearance of scutoids, the dynamic phenomena contributing to its formation remain poorly understood. I will show how we have used live imaging of sea star embryos to dissect the relative influences of cell density, tissue compaction, and cell proliferation on epithelial architecture.

Host: Yanlan Mao

About the Speaker

Prof. Luis M Escudero

at University of Seville

More about Prof. Luis M Escudero