Like tiny construction workers, cells sculpt organs and embryonic tissues in 3D space.
This task is complicated and requires constant communication between cells to coordinate their actions and generate the forces that will shape their environment into complex tissue morphologies.
Biologists have long studied the communication between cells and their behavior while building these structures, but until now, it had not been possible to see the forces cells generate to shape them. A new method to quantify the mechanical forces that cells exert while building tissues and organs can help answer long unresolved questions in biology and provide new diagnostic tools for medicine.
"There is a lot of interest in understanding how genetics and mechanics interplay to shape embryonic tissues," said Campās. "I believe this technique will help many scientists explore the role that mechanical forces play in morphogenesis and, more generally, in biology."