Mathematical Biology Seminar: Modeling Leaf Shape Development & Diversity

December 8, 2021, 3:10-4:00pm | Carver 401 and Zoom

Speaker: Adam Runions, University of CalgaryTitle: Modeling Leaf Shape Development & DiversityAbstract: Living organisms exhibit a great diversity of shapes. How these shapes are produced remains a fundamental question in developmental biology. While man-made structures are constructed according to a global blueprint or design, living organisms gradually acquire their shape via the local behaviour of cells in a bottom-up, self-organizing process. Recent advances in imaging now allow the 4D patterns of organ growth and gene expression to be observed in unprecedented detail. Nonetheless, the complex nature of organ development has impeded the understanding of how biological shapes are produced, due to the underlying interactions between molecular processes, biomechanics, and geometry. Focusing on leaves, I will present geometric and physically-based modeling frameworks that simulate emergent aspects of leaf development at different spatial scales and levels of abstraction. I will discuss how these models allow for investigation of the mechanistic links between the growth of cells and tissues, and for the exploration of the developmental basis of leaf shape diversity.