Cell and Developmental biology

Biomechanics of Morphogenesis

Group Structure

Jérôme Solon
Kai Dierkes, Thomas Pujol, Juan Jose Fraire Zamora, Petra Stockinger (shared with M. Mendoza lab)
Natalia Czerniak, David Peran Hayes, Anghugali Sumi
Arturo D’Angelo


Our group is interested in describing the mechanisms at the origin of force generation, coordination and regulation in biological tissues. During Drosophila embryogenesis, dramatic tissue rearrangements occur to shape the organism and form its organs. The embryo undergoes a sequence of morphogenetic movements precisely controlled by complex signalling networks. The origin of the forces driving these morphogenetic movements and how they are coordinated by signalling networks remains unclear.

We are developing methods to apply controlled forces and measure cellular forces in a developing living organism. We combine these methods with state-of-the-art 3D high-resolution live imaging, Drosophila genetic and quantitative modelling to understand the mechanisms regulating the contraction, the spreading and fusion of biological tissues.

Research Projects

  • We are developing new methodologies to induce and measure cellular forces in vivo.
  • Combining high-resolution imaging with physical modelling, we are aiming to understand the mechanisms driving contraction of tissues during Drosophila dorsal closure.
  • We are developing new quantitative models to describe acto-myosin cytoskeleton activity driving tissue remodelling.
  • We are describing new mechanisms regulating the coordinated spreading of biological tissues during development.

Selected Publications

  1. Colombelli J, Solon J.
    “Force communication in multicellular tissues addressed by laser nanosurgery.”
    Cell Tissue Res, 352(1):133-47 (2013) Review
  2. Clark AG, Dierkes K, Paluch EK.
    “Monitoring actin cortex thickness in live cells.”
    Biophys J, 105(3):570-80 (2013).