Physics of Left-Right Asymmetric Morphogenesis

Event Slider

Several seminars are held weekly at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, an initiative that aims to bring together all researchers around the topics under discussion.

The sessions, with internal researchers or guests, contribute to stimulate the open and extremely collaborative culture of the IGC.

You can read the abstract of this seminar to learn more about it.


One of the most remarkable examples of self-organized structure formation is the development of a complex organism from a single fertilized egg. With the identification of many molecules that participate in this process of morphogenesis, attention has now turned to capturing the physical principles that govern the emergence of biological form. What are the physical laws that govern the dynamics and the formation of structure in living matter? Much of the force generation that drives morphogenesis stems from the actomyosin cortical layer inside cells, which endows the surface of the cell with the ability to generate active forces and stresses that can drive reshaping. We combine theory and experiment and investigate how the actomyosin cell cortex self contracts, reshapes and deforms, and how these physical activities generate left-right asymmetric structures. I will report on projects from the lab that investigate the early development of nematodes and birds, where we have applied concepts from active chiral matter theory to shed light on chiral development and the physical mechanisms that underlie left-right symmetry breaking.


Stephan Grill
The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany


Mónica Bettencourt-Dias

Cookies settings

Cookies Selection

This website uses cookies to improve your browsing experience, security, and its website performance. We may also use cookies to share information on social media and to display messages and advertisements personalised to your interests, both on our website and in others.