Mechanics of soft and living interfaces

Interested in a PhD in mathematical and computational modeling at the interface between materials and biology?

We develop mathematical and computational models to understand the mechanics of biological interfaces, cells and tissues, with the goal of making this understanding quantitative and mechanistic, of rationally manipulating active living materials and of engineering new bionic and bioinspired materials.

The group on Mechanics of soft and living interfaces belongs to the Research program on Cell and tissue mechanobiology @ LaCàN at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya-BarcelonaTech. It is lead by Prof. Marino Arroyo, professor at UPC also an associated researcher at CIMNE and IBEC.

more about our research...

Biological interfaces across scales, including biomembranes, the cell cortex, or epithelial sheets, are unique multifunctional materials that control key structural and mechanical functions of cells and tissues, including their shape, mechanical properties, and locomotion. At scales below 10s of microns, elasticity, hydrodynamics and chemistry become intertwined and these systems are permanently driven out of equilibrium by biological activity. Furthermore, large geometric transformations and molecular crowding lead to strong nonlinearity. Our goal is to develop theoretical models and computational methods to quantitatively understand the mechanobiology of these interfaces, in tight interaction with experiments. We hope to answer fundamental scientific questions and to transpose the underlying engineering principles of these biological interfaces into to new artificial materials.

Selected publications

See ResearcherID profile for a (nearly) updated list and here for pdfs.

A mechanosensing mechanism controls plasma membrane shape homeostasis at the nanoscale, X Quiroga, N Walani, A Disanza, A Chavero, A Mittens, F Tebar, X Trepat, RG Parton, M I Geli, G Scita, M Arroyo, A-L Le Roux, P Roca-Cusachs, eLife, 2023.

Mechanics of tubular meshes formed by elastic helical fibers, J Quaglierini, M Arroyo, A DeSimone, Int J Solids Structures, 2023.

Theory of active self-organization of dense nematic structures in actin gels, W Mirza, M De Corato, M Pensalfino, G Vilanova,A Torres-Sánchez, M Arroyo, 2023.

Variational formulation of active nematics: theory and simulation, W Mirza, A Torres-Sánchez, G Vilanova, M Arroyo, arXiv, 2023.

Patterning of membrane adhesion under hydraulic stress, C Dinet, A Torres-Sánchez, M Arroyo, M Staykova, Nature Communications, 2023.

Slack-taut transition and emergent stiffness in bioinspired entangled filament networks, M. Pensalfini, T. Golde, X. Trepat, M. Arroyo, Physical Review Letters, 2023.

See also Physics Synopsis "Knotted Networks Form Cellular Safety Nets"

Mapping mechanical stress in curved epithelia of designed size and shape, AMarín-Llauradó, S Kale, A Ouzeri, R Sunyer, A Torres-Sánchez, E Latorre, M Gómez-González, P Roca-Cusachs, M Arroyo, X Trepat, Nature Communications, 2022.

Mechanical compartmentalization of the intestinal organoid enables crypt folding and collective cell migration, C Pérez-González, G Ceada, F Greco, M  Matejčić, M Gómez-González, N Castro, A Menendez, S Kale, D Krndija, AG Clark, V Ram Gannavarapu, A Álvarez-Varela, P Roca-Cusachs, E Batlle, D Matic Vignjevic, M Arroyo & X Trepat, Nature Cell Biology, 2021

Dynamic mechanochemical feedback between curved membranes and BAR protein self-organization, A.L. Le Roux, C. Tozzi, N. Walani, X. Quiroga, D. Zalvidea, X. Trepat, M. Staykova, M. Arroyo, P. Roca-Cusachs, Nature Comms, 2021

A theory of ordering of elongated and curved proteins on membranes driven by density and curvature, C. Tozzi, N. Walani, A.L. Le Roux, P. Roca-Cusachs, M. Arroyo, Soft Matter, 2021

A physical mechanism of TANGO1-mediated bulky cargo export, I. Raote, M. Chabanon, N. Walani, M. Arroyo, M.F. García-Parajo, V. Malhorta, F. Campelo, eLife, 2020.

Spontaneous polarization and locomotion of an active particle with surface-mobile enzymes, M. De Corato, I. Pagonabarraga, L.K.E.A. Abdelmohsen, S. Sánchez, M. Arroyo, Physical Review Fluids, 2020.

Measuring mechanical stress in living tissues, M. Gómez-González, E. Latorre, M. Arroyo, X. Trepat, Nature Reviews Physics, 2020.

Self-Propulsion of Active Colloids via Ion Release: Theory and Experiments, M. De Corato, X. Arqué, T. Patiño, M. Arroyo, S. Sánchez, I. Pagonabarraga, Physical Review Letters, 2020.

The 2020 motile active matter roadmap, G. Gompper et al.,  Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, 2020.

Approximation of tensor fields on surfaces of arbitrary topology based on local Monge parametrizations, A. Torres-Sánchez, D. Santos-Oliván, M. Arroyo, J Computational Physics, 2019.

The plasma membrane as a mechanochemical transducer, A.-L. Le Roux, X. Quiroga, N. Walani, M. Arroyo, P. Roca-Cusachs, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 2019

Morphable structures from unicellular organisms with active, shape-shifting envelopes: Variations on a theme by Gauss, G. Cicconofri, M. Arroyo, G. Noselli, A. DeSimone, Int J Non-Linear Mechanics, 2019

Mechanics of axisymmetric sheets of interlocking and slidable rods, D. Riccobelli, G. Noselli M. Arroyo, A. DeSimone, J Mech Phys Solids, 2020.

Combined molecular/continuum modeling reveals the role of friction during fast unfolding of coiled-coil proteins, A. Torres-Sánchez, J.M. Vanegas, P.K. Purohit, M. Arroyo*, Soft Matter, 2019

Modelling fluid deformable surfaces with an emphasis on biological interfaces, A. Torres-Sánchez, D. Millán, M. Arroyo*, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 2019

Swimming Euglena respond to confinement with a behavioural change enabling effective crawling, G. Noselli, A. Beran, M. Arroyo*, A. DeSimone*, Nature Physics, 2019

Link to paper.

Commentary here or here.

Smart helical structures inspired by the pellicle of euglenids, G. Noselli, M. Arroyo, A. DeSimone, Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 2019

Active superelasticity in three-dimensional epithelia of controlled shape, E. Latorre, S. Kale, L. Casares, M. Gómez-González, M. Uroz, L. Valon, R.V. Nair, E. Garreta, N. Montserrat, A. del Campo, B. Ladoux, M. Arroyo*, X. Trepat*, Nature, 2018

see commentary here.

Perspective: Embryonic self-fracking, M.Arroyo, X. Trepat, Science, 2019 

A variational model of fracture for tearing brittle thin sheets, B. Li, D. Millán, A. Sanchez-Torres, B. Roman, M. Arroyo, Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 2018

Hydraulic fracturing in cells and tissues: fracking meets cell biology, M. Arroyo, X. Trepat, Current Opinion in Cell Biology, 2017

Onsager’s Variational Principle in Soft Matter: Introduction and Application to the Dynamics of Adsorption of Proteins onto Fluid Membranes, M. Arroyo, N. Walani, A. Torres-Sánchez and D. Kaurin, Chapter in the book “The role of mechanics in the study of lipid bilayers”, CISM, 2017

Maximum-entropy meshfree coordinates in computational mechanics, M. Arroyo, Chapter in the book “Generalized Barycentric Coordinates in Computer Graphics and Computational Mechanics”, CRC Press, 2017

Geometric derivation of the microscopic stress: A covariant central force decomposition, A. Sanchez-Torres, J.M. Vanegas, M. Arroyo, Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 2016

Examining the Mechanical Equilibrium of Microscopic Stresses in Molecular SimulationsA.Torres-Sánchez, J.M. Vanegas, M. Arroyo, Physical Review Letters, 2015 COMPUTER CODE

Charting molecular free-energy landscapes with an atlas of collective variables, B. Hashemian, D. Millán, M. Arroyo, Journal of Chemical Physics, 2016

Hydraulic fracture and toughening of a brittle layer bonded to a hydrogel, A.Lucantonio, G. Noselli, X. Trepat, A. DeSimone, M. Arroyo, Physical Review Letters, 2015

See commentary in Physics here

Coexistence of wrinkles and blisters in supported graphene, K. Zhang, M. Arroyo, Extreme Mechanics Letters, 2016

Hydraulic fracture during epithelial stretching, L. Casares, R. Vincent, D. Zalvidea, N. Campillo, D. Navajas, M. Arroyo*, X. Trepat*, Nature Materials, 2015

See commentaries here and here

Physical principles of membrane remodelling during cell mechanoadaptation, A.J. Kosmalska, et al, Nature Communications, 2015