The mechanics of development: Models and methods for tissue morphogenesis

Nikolce Gjorevski, Celeste M. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Embryonic development is a physical process during which groups of cells are sculpted into functional organs. The mechanical properties of tissues and the forces exerted on them serve as epigenetic regulators of morphogenesis. Understanding these mechanobiological effects in the embryo requires new experimental approaches. Here we focus on branching of the lung airways and bending of the heart tube to describe examples ofmechanical and physical cues that guide cell fate decisions and organogenesis. We highlight recent technological advances to measure tissue elasticity and endogenous mechanical stresses in real time during organ development. We also discuss recent progress in manipulating forces in intact embryos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-202
Number of pages10
JournalBirth Defects Research Part C - Embryo Today: Reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Embryology
  • Developmental Biology


  • Cytoskeleton
  • Mechanobiology
  • Tension
  • Traction force microscopy


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