A review by IBEC group leader and ICREA research professor Xavier Trepat is one of six featured in Nature Physics’ latest ‘Insight’ issue, ‘The Physics of Living Systems’, in which all the articles have been co-authored by a physicist and a biologist.
Penned together with collaborator Erik Sahai from London’s Francis Crick Institute, Xavier’s article, ‘Mesoscale physical principles of collective cell organization’, reviews recent evidence showing that cell and tissue dynamics are governed by mesoscale physical principles – force, density, shape, adhesion and self-propulsion.
Combining these physical quantities gives rise to phenomena such as cell jamming, topological defects and underdamped waves, and mesoscale physical principles precede and instruct biological functions such as cell division, extrusion, invasion and gradient sensing.
Nature Physics’ special ‘Insight’ issues, which are published every couple of months, have covered such topics as Dark Matter, Nuclear Fusion and Quantum Materials.
The work described in the review forms part of MECHANOCONTROL, the largest European project ever coordinated at IBEC, which is funded by Horizon 2020’s FET Proactive programme.