Using cell deformation and motion to predict forces and collective behavior in morphogenesis

Matthias Merkel, Mary Elizabeth Manning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


In multi-cellular organisms, morphogenesis translates processes at the cellular scale into tissue deformation at the scale of organs and organisms. To understand how biochemical signaling regulates tissue form and function, we must understand the mechanical forces that shape cells and tissues. Recent progress in developing mechanical models for tissues has led to quantitative predictions for how cell shape changes and polarized cell motility generate forces and collective behavior on the tissue scale. In particular, much insight has been gained by thinking about biological tissues as physical materials composed of cells. Here we review these advances and discuss how they might help shape future experiments in developmental biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 31 2016



  • Collective motion
  • Deformation
  • Epithelium
  • Jamming
  • Morphogenesis
  • Tissue mechanics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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