Video From Applied Physics/Physics Colloquium: Boris Shraiman - "Physics of Morphogenesis"
Department of Physics
370 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305
Morphogenesis is a developmental process through which plants and animals acquire their
shape and form. Although Biology has identified many of the key genes and cellular
mechanisms of morphogenesis, the question of how Living Matter encodes the geometry of the
shapes that it generates remains an open problem. This talk will focus on the interplay of
physical forces and genetically encoded regulation that underly morphogenic processes.
Specifically, the talk will describe how mechanical self-organization on cellular scale acts to
convert spatial patterns of developmental gene expression into controlled transformation of
tissue shape. We will see that i) simple ideas from Physics go far in explaining non-trivial
behavior of tissues, and that ii) “active mechanics” encountered in tissue morphogenesis
pushes the envelope of continuum mechanics beyond what we have learned from Landau and