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The Dynamic Architecture of Cells and Tissues

Mechanobiology is an emerging multidisciplinary field of science, aiming at understanding the mechanisms whereby living cells sense the complex physical and chemical properties of their microenvironment and respond to it. Recent studies have demonstrated that all living organisms, from bacteria to humans, possess an amazing capacity to sense multiple features of the surrounding matrix even at the nanometer scale. The molecular composition, rigidity and micro/nanotopography, of the microenvironment trigger specific cellular responses including cell proliferation, survival, differentiation and migration.

Understanding the complex interplay between the external cues and the cellular response presents a major, and exciting challenge for multidisciplinary research teams consisting of cell biologists, materials researchers, physicists and computer scientists. Studies in this dynamic and rapidly developing field provide novel basic insight into cell sensing and response, and are believed to be essential for the development of novel approaches for regenerative medicine.

The importance of mechanobiology is currently broadly appreciated by the scientific community, yet the mechanisms whereby external physical cues transform into molecular signals that drive physiological or pathological responses are still largely unclear. In the proposed conference, researchers from the MBI in Singapore and the WIS in Israel will join forces with colleagues from other countries in addressing key mechanobiological processes.

In line with this, a Joint Weizmann/MBI Mechanobiology Conference, coinciding with the 7th Mechanobiology Conference, part of an annual conference series organized by MBI, will be organized on the theme: Dynamic architecture of Cells and Tissues.

Topics include
  • Architecture and Mechanics of Molecular Complexes
  • Mechanobiology of Bacterial Systems
  • Self-organization and Mechanics of Actin Cytoskeleton
  • Membrane Mechanics and Dynamics
  • Cell Adhesion and Collective Migration
  • The Mechanics of Developmental Systems
  • Interplay between Cell Dynamics and Signaling

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Biological physics research at the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS)

Multidisciplinary research, at the interface between biology and physics was very active at the Weizmann Institute since the 90’s, leading to the establishment, in 2001, of a research center, namely, the Clore Center, which supported collaborative work between biologists, physicists, chemists and mathematicians, addressing such questions as cell adhesion and migration, membrane folding, mechanical stimulation of cells, tissue scaffolding, immune cell interactions and more. This multidisciplinary activity, which was rather rare at the time, proved to be highly inspiring and effective, leading to the development of many international collaborations in which Weizmann scientists, working in the broad field of mechanobiology, play key roles.  Among the most prominent international collaborations, in this field,  are those of WIS scientists and colleagues at the MBI in Singapore. Learn more about the Weizmann Institute of Science.

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The Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore (MBI)

The MBI, headed by Prof Michael Sheetz,  was established in 2009, through joint funding by the National Research Foundation and the Ministry of Education of Singapore, with the goal of creating a new cutting edge research center focusing on diverse aspects of mechanobiology. The primary goal of the MBI is to identify, measure and describe the roles of forces in driving cell motility and morphogenesis, and characterize the mechanisms underlying these processes at the molecular, cellular and tissue levels. Toward that goal, the MBI working to create a common international standard for defining these steps by developing powerful new computational models, experimental reagents, and tools for studying cells and tissues, either healthy or diseased. These ambitious objectives are addressed by interdisciplinary teams drawn from Singapore and international researchers in medicine, biology, chemistry, physics, engineering and computing. Learn more about MBI.