Growth, Form and Self-Organisation in Living Systems

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Growth, Form and Self-Organisation in Living Systems

 16 - 20 Oct 2017

University of Dundee

  • Arezki Boudaoud, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon
  • Robert Dudley, University of California
  • Andrzej Herczyński, Boston College
  • Boston College, University of Dundee
  • Eric Lauga, University of Cambridge


This workshop, closely related to D’Arcy Thompson’s legacy, focused on recent advances, mathematical challenges, and promising new directions in research on mathematical aspects of form in living systems. Stochastic models and topological approaches, including knot theory, have been employed to study shape evolution, for example DNA. Cellular and developmental biology have seen a surge in the use of mathematical models and new conceptual frameworks for problems such as the self-organisation of the cytoskeleton or gradients of morphogens in embryos. However, the constitutive features of living systems pose unique technical and conceptual challenges. Some of these challenges concern construction of a multiscale framework for agent-based models, and employing non-equilibrium physics to address non-conservative nature of living systems, using continuum models such as the (visco)elasticity of growing bodies.

This workshop was a satellite workshop of the Growth Form and Self-Organisation programme. This workshop was preceded by an interdisciplinary conference celebrating the centenary of On Growth and Form.


  • Mariya Ptashnyk, University of Dundee - Multiscale Modelling and Analysis of Plant Tissue Biomechanics and Growth

  • Roxanna Barry, University of Glasgow - Discrete-to-Continuum Modelling of Cells to Tissue

  • Antoine Fruleux, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon - Multi-Scale Aspects in Plant Development

  • Henrik Jonsson, DAMTP and Sainsbury Laboratory - Growth, Form and Organisation of Plant Meristems

  •  Clare Yu, University of California - Polarization, Proliferation and Propagation in the Seveloping Drosophila Wing Disc

  • Rastko Sknepnek, University of Dundee - Self-propelled Vertex Model for cell-resolution description of epithelial tissue mechanics
  • Hervé Turlier, Collège de France - Physics of Early Mammalian Embryo Morphogenesis
  • Murat Erkurt, Imperial College London - LEGO GAME
  • Naomi Nakayama, University of Edinburgh - Dissecting the Physico-Chemical Regulation of Cell Behaviours in Plant Tissues
  • Alexis Peaucelle, INRA Versailles - Good Vibrations
  • Stephen Childress, New York University - Valveless Rectification of Flow Under Oscillatory Forcing 
  • Mason Dean, Max Planck Institute of Colloids & Interfaces - Biological Strategies for Fatigue and Wear Avoidance
  • Herbert Levine, Rice University - A Possible Role for Phenotypic Pattern Formation in Cancer Metastasis
  • David Hu, Georgia Tech - Cleaning with Spines, from Eyelashes to Cat Tongues  
  • Lisa Fauci, Tulane University - Biofluids of Reproduction
  • David Smith, University of Birmingham - Meshfree and Efficient Modelling of Swimming Cells
  • Fabian Spill, Univesity of Birmingham - Interplay of Molecular and Mechanical Stimuli in Tissue Growth and Vancer
  • Aurore Loisy, University of Bristol - Negative Apparent Viscosities, Non-Monotonic Flow Curves and Multiple Mechanical Equilibria in the Rheology of Active Suspensions
  • Daniel Alejandro Matoz-Fernandez, University of Dundee - Active Mechanics in Dense Systems
  • Raluca Eftimie, University of Dundee - Communication and Pattern Formation in Self-Organised Systems
  • Martine Ben Amar, École Normale Supérieure - Brain Morphology

  • Nicholas Hill, University of Glasgow - Self-Generated Chemotactic Gradients

  • Silke Henkes, University of Aberdeen - Using Active Matter to Model the Mammalian Cornea

  • Ramin Golestanian, University of Oxford - Homeostasis and Dynamic Phase Transition in a Simple Model of Dividing Chemotactic Cells

  • Lynn Zechiedrich, Baylor College of Medicine - Beyond the Static DNA Models of Watson and Crick

  • Amin Doostmohammadi, University of Oxford - Defect-Mediated Morphologies and Cell Fate in Growing Cell Colonies

  • Sunghwan Jung, Virginia Polytechnic Institute - Mechanics-Based Allometry in Chewing and Jumping

  • Mike Shelley, New York University - Active Materials and Self-Assembled Structures

  • Luke Coburn, University of Aberdeen - Emergence of Myosin Chains in Cell Monolayers

  • Jacques Prost, CNRS; National University of Singapore - Elementary Contractile Unit

  • Julia Mackenzie, University of Glasgow - A Structured Tree Model for the Coronary Circulation

  • Christophe Eloy, IRPHE/Centrale Marseille - How Sunlight and Wind Model Tree Shapes
  • Madeleine Seale, University of Edinburgh - The Dandelion Clock
  • Pierre Degond, Imperial College London - Models of Emergent Networks
  • Yuchen Long, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon - Cell-Specific Turgor Pressure Regulates Heterogeneous Growth in the Arabidopsis Shoot Apical Meristem
  • Matthew Turner, University of Warwick - Collective Motion and Intelligence
  • Mimi Koehl, University of California - How Kelp in Drag Lose Their Ruffles
  • Rosemary Dyson, University of Birmingham - Fibre-Reinforced Fluids