Wed, 23 Jun | Theory of Living Systems Webinar

Dr. Hervé Turlier (Collège de France & CNRS)

Toward a virtual embryo : a multidisciplinary journey
Dr. Hervé Turlier (Collège de France & CNRS)

Time & Location

23 Jun, 4:00 pm AEST
Theory of Living Systems Webinar

About the Event


Early embryogenesis is archetypal of a self-organized process, where the emergence of a complex structure stems from the interaction of its elementary parts. Progress in imaging and molecular genetics allows us to delve into embryos at unprecedented spatiotemporal resolutions, but extracting biophysical information from such complex multidimensional data remains a highly technical challenge. In this talk I will introduce some of our efforts to develop mathematical models and 3D computational methods to unravel the biophysical principles underlying early embryo development. I will present our recent results on the emergence and positioning of a cavity in the preimplantation mammalian embryos (1,2) and discuss novel approaches to segment cell interfaces and to infer cell mechanical properties from confocal microscopy images of cell membranes. I will conclude on perspectives at the frontier of machine learning and physical modeling to reverse-engineer the sequence of biochemical and mechanical events required to design a realistic virtual embryo. 

(1) Dumortier, J., Le Verge-Serandour, M., Tortorelli, A. F., Mielke, A., de Plater, L., Turlier*, H., & Maitre*, J.L. Hydraulic fracturing and active coarsening position the lumen of the mouse blastocyst. Science, 365, 465-468 (2019). 

(2) Le Verge-Serandour, M., Turlier*, H. Physics of blastocoel formation by hydro-osmotic lumen coarsening. bioRxiv doi:

About the speaker

Dr. Hervé Turlier runs the Multiscale Physics of Morphogenesis at Collège de France where they aim to answer the following questions  “How do cells control their shape, position and fate?, What information is processed by a cell to take its next decision? How is morphogenetic information transmitted within the embryo?What principles underly robustness & variability of early embryo development?"

To do this they use multiscale physics simulations of whole embryos, data driven methods to reverse engineer feedback controls between mechanics and chemical signalling, and the study of multiple organisms to try and contribute to the emerging field of Evolutionary Morphogenesis.


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