Sculpting organs: Mechanical regulation of tissue development

Celeste M. Nelson, Jason P. Gleghorn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


The ramified architectures of organs such as the mammary gland and lung are generated via branching morphogenesis, a developmental process through which individual cells bud and pinch off of pre-existing epithelial sheets. Although specified by signaling programs, organ development requires integration of all aspects of the microenvironment. We describe the essential role of endogenous cellular contractility in the formation of branching tubes. We also highlight the role of exogenous forces in normal and aberrant branching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-154
Number of pages26
JournalAnnual Review of Biomedical Engineering
StatePublished - Aug 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


  • Branching morphogenesis
  • Gradient
  • Mechanotransduction
  • Morphogen
  • Patterning
  • Tension


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