6th Annual Symposium
Physics of Cancer
September 7-9, 2015
|PoC - Physics of Cancer - Annual Symposium|
Jamming and glassiness in dense biological tissues
Department of Physics, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244 USA
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Biological tissues involved in important functions such as wound healing, embryonic development, and cancer tumorigenesis have recently been shown to be close to a glass or jamming transition. Existing theories for these transitions suggest they are driven by changes to density or packing fraction, and that there is a critical packing fraction (less than unity) at which they transition from liquid to solid. Therefore, existing theories cannot explain observations of jamming transitions in confluent biological tissues, where there are no gaps between cells and the packing fraction is always unity. I will discuss our new theoretical framework for predicting energy barriers and rates of cell migration in confluent tissue monolayers, and show that this model predicts a novel type of rigidity transition, which takes place at constant packing fraction and depends only on single cell properties such as cell-cell adhesion, cortical tension and cell elasticity. I will show that our a priori theoretical predictions are precisely realized in cell cultures from human patients with implications for asthma pathobiology, and discuss how these ideas might also be applied to understand the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and cancer tumor metastasis.