By: David Caballero
From: Institute on Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics, University of Minho, Portugal
At: Building C1, room 1.4.14
The principles of soft matter physics and thermodynamics can be used to describe relevant developmental, physiological, and pathological processes involving directed cell migration. Traditionally, cell directionality has been linked to the presence of soluble long-range chemoattractant gradients, synergizing with many other guidance cues to direct cell movement. Physical factors, although pivotal in influencing cell locomotion, have received relatively less attention in biological contexts, despite their biological significance. In this talk, I will describe recent in vitro research works at the interface of physics and biology, illustrating how cell movement can be guided within gradient-free environments featuring repetitive local asymmetries. This rectification of cell migration, transitioning from stochastic to targeted, resembles a process akin to the Feynman ratchet. Consequently, this framework has been termed Ratchetaxis to elucidate the underlying mechanism governing directed cell motion.