Monolayers of elongated cells exhibit
characteristics of active liquid crystals, such as long-range orientational
order and topological defects: regions where orientational order is
ill-defined. During the development of organisms, topological defects are at
the core of morphogenetic events and biological processes, such as protrusion
formation or cell extrusion. However, the interplay between morphogenesis and
topological defects remains to be elucidated.
This PhD project will combine theory and
experiments to disentangle the interplay between biological active matter,
topological defects, and geometry in the morphogenesis of slender structures.
First, we aim at theoretically understanding
feedbacks between topological defects and geometry in the emergence of 3D
shapes of active liquid-crystal surfaces.
Second, the candidate will create and analyze
a minimal experimental model system, which will allow one to study correlations
between order of cell monolayers and deformations on the gel layer. Combining
theory and experiments will facilitate the identification of new morphogenetic
mechanisms in multicellular systems, which can also open new ways to design
shape-morphing materials inspired by biological systems.
This project will be developed at the
Laboratoire Physico-Chimie Curie. By using interdisciplinary approaches at the
interface between chemistry, biology, and physics, our unit aims at discovering
the role of the physical laws on the architectures and the functions of