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MEAM Seminar: “Force, Shape, and Motion in Collective Cell Migration”

March 26 at 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Cells migrate collectively to form tissues, to heal wounds, and, in cancer, to metastasize. During these biological processes, the collective migration exhibits a transition from a solid-like state, wherein cell positions remain fixed, to a fluid-like state, wherein cells flow freely and rearrange their positions with their neighbors. Recent mechanics-based models and experiments have demonstrated that this transition can be predicted by average cell shape, with cells having more elongated shapes and greater perimeters more easily sliding past their neighbors. At each cell-cell interface, it has been proposed that active actomyosin contraction generated within the cell cortex acts as an effective surface tension tending to reduce each cell’s perimeter. Cell-cell adhesions have the opposite effect, tending to reduce the surface tension, thereby increasing the perimeter. It is unclear how cells regulate these competing factors in a confluent monolayer. This presentation will describe our investigation of the factors affecting cell surface tension and cell perimeter, and the corresponding effects on collective migration. Our experiments use monolayers of Madin-Darby Canine Kidney cells and quantify cell forces, shapes, and motion. With this experimental data, we test the theoretical predictions relating cell shape and motion.

Jacob Notbohm

Assistant Professor, Department of Engineering Physics, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Jacob Notbohm is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Physics of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is also an Affiliate faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Biomedical Engineering, as well as a member of both the Carbone Cancer Institute and the McPherson Eye Research Institute. He obtained a B.S. in Engineering Mechanics at Wisconsin-Madison and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology.

Professor Notbohm’s lab studies how biological cells adhere, push, pull, and move. This work draws from a number of fields including engineering mechanics, soft matter physics, applied mathematics, and cell biology. He focuses primarily on the mechanical mechanisms underlying the cell and material behavior. Understanding these basic mechanisms will lead to new disease treatments and new approaches in tissue engineering.


March 26
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
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Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics


Wu and Chen Auditorium (Room 101), Levine Hall
3330 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 United States
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