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C7: Multicellular Systems – 61750

(2 hrs/week; 2 CP; Spring 2023)

Prisca Liberali, Adam Alexander Thil, Charisios Tsiairis

Multicellular organisms are composed of cells and tissues with identical genomes but different properties and functions. They all develop from one cell to form multicellular structures of astounding complexity. During development, in a series of spatio-temporal coordinated steps, cells differentiate into different cell types and establish tissue-scale architectures and functions. Throughout life, continuous tissue renewal and regeneration is required for tissue homeostasis, which also requires fine-tuned spatio-temporal coordination of cells. How cellular interactions generate the specific contexts and spatio-temporal coordination underlying development, and regeneration is a key question in biology. In this course, we will specifically investigate what are the molecular and physical mechanisms that allow a cell, in a tissue, to sense its complex environment, to take individual coordinated decisions. And what are the design principles governing coordinated cellular behaviour during tissue organization?We will explore different concepts on how cells transmit information forward to the tissue and which feedback mechanisms maintain the robustness of the system. The course will also cover different state of the art technologies that are currently used to quantitatively understand and perturb multicellular systems, such as organoids.