638Cellular Mechanobiology and Morphogenesis


21 August 2023 – 24 August 2023


Sirmione, Italy




Alberto Salvadori
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica e Industriale (DIMI)
Universita di Brescia,
Via Branze 43,
25123 Brescia, Italy


Email: alberto.salvadori@unibs.it


Mattia Bacca
University of California
Santa Barbara, USA


Email: mbacca@mech.ubc.ca


Eoin McEvoy
College of Science and Engineering,
NUI Galway, Ireland


Alessio Gizzi
University Campus Bio-Medico of Rome
Rome, Italy

All living cells and tissues exert and experience physical forces that guide their function. Those mechanical processes are pivotal in the biophysics of embryonic formation, tumour angiogenesis, cancer growth and metastasis, wound healing, and developmental diseases. A fundamental understanding of these mechanisms can contribute to the advancement of medical intervention, from reducing bone fracture risk in osteoporosis to device-based treatment of aortic aneurysm.
Tissue development and remodelling are mediated by cell-generated stresses and strains, which emerge at the nano-scale in response to complex biochemical interactions among cells and with their microenvironment. Cells can sense and mechanically respond to their surroundings by attaching to extracellular matrix (ECM) fibres through the formation of focal adhesions, developing actin networks, and actively generating tension via myosin motor contractility. This physical system is one of the most complex known to mankind and continues to be the subject of intense multidisciplinary research.
Theoretical and experimental characterization of living matter requires the collective effort of scientists across a wide range of disciplines, including solid mechanics and bio-fluid dynamics at different length and time scales. The role of mechanics in biology is therefore particularly relevant to the activities and expertise of the EuroMech community. We propose this Colloquium to encourage worldwide cooperation in advancing scientific understanding of cellular mechanobiology and morphogenesis.

While computational and experimental methodologies in mechanobiology have been applied to understand tumour progression and cardiovascular diseases, there is significant opportunity to explore their applicability in many other areas of medicine, spanning microbial resistance, device-driven tissue remodelling, and reprogramming of cells in immunotherapy. This colloquium aims to bring together biologists and mechanicians tackling biophysical problems of major social impact. To restrict the scope, the colloquium will focus on biological processes that are underpinned by active remodelling of cells at different length scales. This colloquium is particularly concerned with the mechanics of cytoskeletal contractility and protrusion, migration, adhesion, ECM remodelling, morphogenesis, and nuclear mechanotransduction. The colloquium will therefore explore important biological phenomena in cells that may be explained by mechanical principles, including topics related to:
Cytoskeletal contractility and remodelling; Cellular protrusion and migration; Cellular adhesion and matrix interaction; Mechanotransduction through the cytoskeleton and nucleus; Protein active mechanics; Mechanical Homeostasis; In-vitro cytoskeletal gels; Bioinspired active materials; Cell Fate Transition; Cell Proliferation and Mitosis; Embryogenesis; Metastasis; Angiogenesis.

A key aspiration is to bring together the most authoritative experts in the field exploring frontier problems, with a view to bridging theoretical and experimental methodologies. In particular, we aim to achieve a balance between leading perspectives in theoretical and computational mechanics, fluid modelling, experimental cell biomechanics, and mechanobiology. Moreover, the colloquium will foster the use of novel integrative methodologies to bridge experiments and theory with the use of data-driven approaches for the estimation of model parameters.