Physico-Chimie Curie

Internships Opportunities

Electrohydraulic properties of cell assemblies

In addition to generating forces and reacting to mechanical cues, tissues are capable of actively transporting fluids and of creating electric currents. Tissues hydraulic properties are crucial during morphogenesis: for instance, mammalian embryos self-organize around spherical fluid cavities (lumens)1. Similarly, bioelectric properties of nonexcitable cells are crucial during wound healing2, and suspected to play a role in tissue patterning3.

Theoretical modelling of cell tissues however often focuses on their active mechanical properties, while their bioelectric and hydraulic abilities have remained largely undiscussed. The goal of this internship will therefore be to construct and explore cell-based or continuum models that bring together tissue mechanical, electrical and hydraulic properties. Depending on the student skills and tastes, several directions could be considered: construct cell-based numerical models, inspired by the vertex model4, that include explicitly fluid transport, develop coarse-grained, continuum models of tissues that include electrohydraulic properties56.

  1. Chan, Costanzo, Ruiz-Herrero, et al., “Hydraulic control of mammalian embryo size and cell fate”, Nature 571, 112 (2019) ↩︎
  2. Kennard and Theriot, “Osmolarity-independent electrical cues guide rapid response to injury in zebrafish epidermis”, eLife 9, e62386 (2020) ↩︎
  3. Stewart, Le Bleu, Yette, et al., “longfin causes cis-ectopic expression of the kcnh2a ether-a-go-go  K+ channel to autonomously prolong fin outgrowth” ↩︎
  4. Farhadifar, Röper, Aigouy, et al., “The Influence of Cell Mechanics, Cell-Cell Interactions, and Proliferation on Epithelial Packing”, Curr. Biol. 17, 2095 (2007) ↩︎
  5. Duclut, Sarkar, Prost, and Jülicher, “Fluid pumping and active flexoelectricity can promote lumen nucleation in cell assemblies”, PNAS 116, 19264 (2019) ↩︎
  6. Duclut, Prost, and Jülicher, “Hydraulic and electric control of cell spheroids”, PNAS 118, e2021972118 (2021) ↩︎

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