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Modelling the dynamics of a biological tissue in vivo

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The mechanisms that cells employ to shape living organisms during embryogenesis remain elusive. Combining laser nanoablations and mechanical modelling we aim at a better understanding of the role of the organisation of the cell’s skeleton and the observed deformations.

Developing embryos achieve morphogenesis by exploiting cellular forces in a coordinated and oriented manner to generate deformations leading to shape acquisition. To understand these morphogenetic processes the mechanical equilibrium must be described and the behaviour of biological tissues characterised in vivo using a reverse engineering approach. One of the essential tools to achieve this goal is laser nanoablation which can be used to generate cuts in membranes or cytoskeleton of cells to locally modify the mechanical equilibrium ; the mechanical properties of the biological tissue can then be inferred by tracking the induced deformation.

During this internship the student will first perform laser nanoablation in the cytoskeleton of C. elegans epidermal cells during morphogenesis at IGDR (Rennes) ; the induced deformation will be observed at various timescales, corresponding respectively to the relaxation of elastic constraints and deformations due to the forces generated by the cell cytoskeleton. This behaviour will be correlated with the cytoskeleton organisation observed using super-resolution microscopy. Then the student will model these nanoablation experiments using analytical and/or numerical approaches at Liphy (Grenoble).

Contact :

Jocelyn Etienne : (LIPHY, Grenoble)

Grégoire Michaux : (IGDR, Rennes)

Web site :