The multiplicative decomposition of the deformation tensor: a powerful tool to describe cell mechanics

Speaker: Rachele Allena
Affiliation: Ecole Nationale Supérieure d Arts et Métiers - Biomechanics Laboratory
When: Monday 27th February 2012
Time: 11:30:00
Abstract: Cell mechanics plays an important role during several biological phenomena such as morphogenesis, wound healing, bone remodeling and tumorogenesis. Each one of these events is triggered by specific elementary cell deformations or movements that may involve single cells or populations of cells. In order to better understand how cell behave and interact, especially during degenerative processes (i.e. tumorogenesis and metastasis), it has become necessary to combine both numerical and experimental approaches. Particularly, numerical models allow determining those parameters that are still very difficult to experimentally measure such as strains and stresses. During the last few years, I have developed new finite element models to simulate morphogenetic movements in Drosophila embryo, limb morphogenesis as well as single and collective cell migration. The common feature of these models is the multiplicative decomposition of the deformation gradient which has been used to take into account both the active and the passive deformations undergone by the cells. I will show how this mechanical approach, firstly used in the seventies by Lee and Mandel to describe large viscoelastic deformations, can actually be very powerful in modeling the biological phenomena mentioned above.