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Unraveling the physics of tissue growth

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Tumors escape to any univocal classification, in terms of mechanics. A growing tumor is elastic on short timescale (minute) and viscous on longer timescale, due to the local cellular rearrangement allowed by cell division and death. The tumor actively changes its stiffness and size, when submitted to a deformation or stress ; its cells collectively flow and build up an active mechanical stress. In addition, biological tissues are porous to fluids, proteins, growth factor and wreckage of dead cells, but also bear some similarities with composite materials, because the cells are embedded in a stiff, but somehow plastic, extracellular matrix.

We propose to track the cells position inside a growing tumor in 3D and in real time. Based on those experimental observations, we will build up a theoretical description of the tumor as an “active material” and a predictive model to describe the cellular motion inside the tumor tissue.

Task 1 : Observe in real time the local rearrangement of cells, inside a model tumor submitted to a mechanical perturbation.

Task 2 : Determine the mechanism, by which cell divisions and cell deaths fluidize the tumor.

Task 3 : Determine whether the cells active modulate their volume, after exposure to an external compressive stress and the role of the extracellular matrix in response to a compressive stress.

Contact :

Giovanni Cappello ( +33 (0)616 208 511