Speaker: Jaume Casademunt (Universitat de Barcelona)
The collective migration of cohesive groups of cells is a hallmark of the tissue remodeling events that underlie embryonic morphogenesis, wound repair, and cancer invasion. Collective cell migration is characterized by the emergence of supra-cellular properties that control large-scale tissue organization. This suggests that a coarse-grained approach based on a hydrodynamic description of tissues as continuous active materials may shed some light on our understanding of the underlying physics of various tissue processes. Within this spirit, we reflect on the extent to which biological complexity can be encoded in a series of material parameters to build predictive, purely mechanical models of tissues based on very general physical principles. We present an overview of such a hydrodynamic approach to cell tissues as active polar fluids and discuss some examples where relatively simple models have been instrumental in elucidating relevant physical mechanisms behind collective cell behavior in epithelia, including active wetting, collective durotaxis, and spontaneous motility of cell clusters.