Steinman Hall #312
Professor Yimin Luo
Yale University, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
“Molecular-Scale Substrate Anisotropy, Crowding, and Division Drive New Landscapes of Collective Behaviors in Cell Monolayers: Experiments and Modeling”
Cellular pattern formation plays a key role in embryonic development and tissue morphogenesis. Elongated cells can align due to steric effects, leading to states with local order. In this talk, we first demonstrate that molecular-scale substrate anisotropy can direct cell organization and result in the emergence of nematic order on tissue scales. We developed a high-throughput imaging platform to analyze velocity and orientational correlations for thousands of cells over days. However, a predictive framework for how the order remains elusive. The Vicsek Model, commonly used to portray the dynamics and phase behaviors of active matter, failed to accurately describe our experimental data. We next developed an active particle model with anisotropic noise to investigate the evolution of the global order parameter. Using a statistical approach, we found that the velocity distribution was non-Gaussian. Our simulation confirms the important role of anisotropic noise in cell alignment and suggests that cell proliferation induces local dipolar fields and polarize surrounding cells. Our experimental platform and computational model provide a robust framework for predicting and controlling emergent cell organization.