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EMBO | EMBL Symposium: The mechanics of life: from development to disease

April 15 to April 18



This conference will take place at EMBL Heidelberg, with the option to attend virtually.


Symposium Overview

The building blocks of life – macromolecules, cells, tissues, and organs – act on each other via physical forces. This interplay of physical forces between the units of life gives rise to complex behaviour — enables motility, transport, growth, division, response to environmental cues, and allows the exertion of forces on the environment, bridging biological scales. The alteration of forces and mechanical properties is associated with inflammation, cancer, and ageing.

This comprehensive symposium will study the interplay of the physical forces — the mechanics — between the fundamental building blocks of life, from molecules to organs. It will cover how these physical forces enable development and how they are altered in disease. We will cover the physical mechanisms of the major components of the animal cell and its environment, including cell membranes, cytoskeleton, the nucleus, and the extracellular matrix. It will focus on the role of mechanical forces in both development and disease, engaging clinicians, cell and developmental biologists, and physical and material scientists, from in silico to in vitro and to in vivo studies. We will include state-of-the-art technological applications that rely on the knowledge and use of mechanical forces for biotechnological and healthcare purposes.


Session topics

  • Subcellular mechanics
  • Cellular dynamics and tissue organisation
  • Multi-tissue interaction
  • Organismal morphogenesis
  • Mechanobiology of disease
  • Theoretical mechanobiology



JAN 22:       Abstract Submission
MAR 04:     Registration (On-site)



April 15
April 18
Event Category:


EMBL Heidelberg and Virtual


View Organizer Website