Our general aim is to identify key principles of organism development in close collaboration with biologists by constructing mathematical and computational models based on explicit representations of forms. For this we develop a dual modeling approach where conceptual models are used to identify self-organizing principles and realistic models to test non-trivial genetic and physical hypotheses in silico.
While our approach mainly focuses on plant development at different scales, the MOSAIC team also considers the morphogenesis of model animal systems, such as ascidians, to cross-fertilize the approaches and to open the possibility to identify abstractions and principles that are relevant to morphogenesis of living forms in general. Our work concentrates on how physical and chemical processes interact within the medium defined by the form and feeds back on its development. We seek in particular to integrate both mechanistic and stochastic components in our models to account for biological variability in shape development.
In the long run, we aim to participate to the construction of a new vision of morphogenesis in biology, at the origin of a new physics of living matter, and based on a more mechanistic understanding of the link between genes, forms and their environment.