Research

The physiology and development of living organisms relies on the self-organization of thousands of molecular complexes (10-9m) into macroscopic patterns (10-2-100m). Our research merges cell and developmental biology with the frameworks of fluid mechanics and active matter to understand how biological patterning and function emerge from microscopic interactions. Our primary focus is on the problem of flow generation by arrays of active filaments (cilia). By studying a variety of multiciliated cells and organisms we aim to elucidate the biophysical mechanisms that link cytoskeletal patterning, ciliary organization and flow generation.

Ciliates are large (hundreds of microns long) unicellular organisms. The surface of these cells is covered by cilia, organized in rows, that form intricate cortical patterns. Cilia and their associated structures are anchored to a filamentous sub-cortical cytoskeleton known as the epiplasm. This layer has different architectures in the different ciliate groups.We are interested in (…)

Ciliary arrays in organisms across the tree of life are exposed to environments with diverse physical properties. While ciliated protists swim in water, the airway epithelium propels a thin layer of mucus. We are puzzled by the mechanisms that allow for proper function of ciliary arrays in these diverse physical contexts. To gain insight into (…)

 In vivo the spatial organization of multiciliated cells and tissues is subject to several constraints. For instance, multiciliated tissues need to accomodate a variety of cell types, leading to areas devoid of cilia activity along a tissue. Furthermore, cilia must orient relative to each other within each cell and across the plane of the epithelium.Using (…)