Active Matter Controlling Epithelial Dynamics

02/10/2022 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Abstract: My lab is interested in the active and adaptive materials that underlie control of cell shape.  This has centered around understanding force transmission and sensing within the actin cytoskeleton.  I will first review our current understanding of the types of active matter that can be constructed by actin polymers.  I will then turn to our recent experiments to understand how Cell shape changes in epithelial tissue.  I will describe the two sources of active stresses within these tissues, one driven by the cell cycle and controlling cell-cell stresses and the other controlled by cell-matrix signaling controlling motility.  I will then briefly describe how we are using optogenetics to locally control active stresses to reveal adaptive and force-sensitive mechanics of the cytoskeletal machinery. Hopefully, I will convince you that recent experimental and theoretical advances make this a very promising time to study this quite complicated form of active matter.