I am involved in several projects within the Smith lab, at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ) in Cologne, Germany.
Cellular Force Microscopy (CFM)
Cellular Force Microscopy is a new micro-indentation technique dedicated to force measurements and micro-surgery in biological tissues, in particular plants. We originally developed CFM combined with light microscopy to measure the stiffness of single cells or transparent samples (Routier-Kierzkowka et al. 2012, Weber et al. 2015). I am currently working on combining CFM with confocal microscopy and 3D image analysis in MorphoGraphX.
More about Cellular Force Microscopy.
MorphoGraphX started as a software for 3D image analysis and is now an interdisciplinary platform to quantify growth, gene expression and mechanics. I develop tools to analyse cell growth and polarization in MorphoGraphX.
Downloads, documentation and more about MorphoGraphX on the software website, www.morphographx.org.
More about MorphoGraphX in The Node.
Measuring tissue mechanics
In collaboration with the group of Angela Hay (MPI Cologne) and Alain Goriely (Oxford, UK), I measured the forces involved in one of the fastest movements occuring in plants. This project illustrates the power of a multi-disciplinary approach to explain mechanical behaviour from the cell level to the organ scale. We recently published our findings and presented them in a short video.
Mechanical forces play a key role in regulating growth, physiology and gene expression of plant cells. Plant tissues have a complex architecture, which makes it difficult to predict the internal forces acting at the cellular level. I am using the latest modelling tools developed in Richard Smith lab to compute force patterns in plants and understand their biological significance.