Uncovering Nature's Design Rules for Building Gas Exchangers

Celeste Nelson from Princeton University

The morphogenetic patterning that generates three-dimensional (3D) tissues requires dynamic concerted rearrangements of individual cells with respect to each other. We have developed microfabrication- and lithographic tissue engineering-based approaches to investigate the mechanical forces and downstream signaling responsible for generating the airways of the lung, an organ that functions as a gas exchanger. I will discuss how we combine these experimental techniques with computational models to uncover the physical forces that drive development of engineered tissues and tissues in vivo. I will also describe efforts to uncover and actuate the different physical mechanisms used to build the airways in lungs from birds, mammals, and reptiles.