Physical principles are of great importance in the control of biological development in addition to gene expression patterns. On the one hand, mechanical properties of tissues and forces acting on them can change the gene expression patterns of stem cells, but also control the growth rates of tissues.
We are studying this in several instances and experimental systems both computationally and experimentally, where on the experimental side we are mainly building tools to apply and measure forces in biological tissues at multiple scales. Similarly our computational work combines several levels of description from the sub-cellular to a tissue, organ or even entire embryo scale. Our main systems of study are:
Growth control of the Drosophila wing disc
Dorsal closure in the Drosophila embryo
Fin regeneration in Zebrafish