Self-Organization of Multicellular Systems

Self-Organization of Multicellular Systems

Welcome to our group webpage! We are a joint research group between the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems (MPI-PKS) and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG), based at the Center for Systems Biology Dresden (CSBD), established in 2021.

We are theorists, but we closely collaborate with experimentalists, at MPI-CBG and beyond, on problems in theoretical biophysics, applied mathematics, and soft matter physics. Read more about our research.

Looking for a PhD or postdoc position? Read more about how to join us.


Latest Research

Buckling by disordered growth

Rahul G. Ramachandran, Ricard Alert#, and Pierre A. Haas#, arXiv (2024)

Buckling instabilities driven by tissue growth underpin key developmental events such as the folding of the brain. Tissue growth is disordered due to cell-to-cell variability, but the effects of this variability on buckling are unknown. Here, we analyse what is perhaps the simplest setup of this problem: the buckling of an elastic rod with fixed ends driven by spatially varying growth. Combining analytical calculations for simple growth fields and numerical sampling of random growth fields, we show that variability can increase as well as decrease the growth threshold for buckling, even when growth variability does not cause any residual stresses. For random growth, we find that the shift of the buckling threshold correlates with spatial moments of the growth field. Our results imply that biological systems can either trigger or avoid buckling by exploiting the spatial arrangement of growth variability.

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We have postdoctoral positions and fully funded PhD student positions available!


Our research

Read more about our research interests in theoretical biophysics, mathematical biology, and beyond!