University College London
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Living organisms operate far from equilibrium, constantly consuming and dissipating energy to perform their defining functions of growth, replication, and adaptation to changing environments. All these dynamic processes require precise control of cellular shape, mis-regulation of which can result in pathological disorders. While much is now known about the molecular machineries that govern cell shape changes, it remains unknown how these molecules work collectively to give rise to self-regulated forces that control cell shape. This problem inspires new physics as the origin of morphological robustness from an inherently non-equilibrium system remains unclear. In this talk I will describe my recent works that combine theory and data-driven modelling to predict how cell size control and forms emerge from dynamic feedbacks between physical forces and biochemical signalling. In doing so, we have identified new design principles and decision-making strategies that underlie the adaptive control of cell shapes, from unicellular bacteria to multicellular organisms.