BE 159

Signal Transduction and Mechanics in Morphogenesis

Caltech, Winter term, 2016

Howard, et al. image

The cell is a fundamental unit of biology. In higher organisms, almost all cells have exactly the same genome, yet there are a wide variety of cell types and function in a single organism. A cursory glance at our own body reveals the incredible range and splendor of this cellular diversity. How do cells take on such different forms and function in a developing organism? And how do cells communicate with each other? These questions are largely unanswered, but we have come a long way in the last several decades. This class will explore the physical principles behind morphogenesis in development by investigating current literature on the subject. It will feature plenty of in-class discussion and student presentations. We will also attempt some calculations of our own on morphogenic processes in homework assignments.