MechE Inaugural Lecture: From Particle Packings to Embryonic Tissues: Understanding Soft and Biological Materials


Event details

Date 28.05.2024
Hour 12:0013:00
Speaker Prof. Sangwoo Kim, Mechanics of Soft and Biological Matter Laboratory (MESOBIO), Institute of Mechanical Engineering (IGM), School of Engineering (STI), EPFL
Location Online
Category Inaugural lectures - Honorary Lecture
Event Language English
Abstract: Soft materials encompass a broad range of systems from inert passive materials to biological active materials. Small elastic moduli and complex non-linear behaviors pose significant challenges in gaining fundamental understanding of these systems. Here, I will demonstrate how the emergent properties of such systems can be understood from inherent interactions between mesoscale structures. In the first part, I will discuss how embryonic tissues regulate their mechanical states by controlling cellular and sub-cellular properties. Motivated by in-vivo experiments, I developed a general theoretical framework that elucidates how small changes in distinct cellular properties can induce different modes of phase transitions. The model explains that the observed fluid-solid transition during tail elongation of zebrafish embryos is governed by activel tension fluctuations. In the second part, I will discuss how to efficiently construct particle packings at varying packing density and their relations with mechanical properties. By decompressing metastable states of overjammed packings at distinct energy levels, a continuous range of critical packing fraction can be systematically accessed. An exceptionally dense particle packing exhibits superior mechanical resilience upon external deformation, contrasting marginally stable feature of typical low critical packing fraction states. These works underscore an importance of mesoscopic structures in understanding emergent properties of soft and biological materials.

Biography: Sangwoo Kim is an assistant professor and a head of Mechanics of Soft and Biological Materials Laboratory (MESOBIO) in the Institute of Mechanical Engineering at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). He received his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics from Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), followed by MS and PhD in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he investigated relations between statistics, geometry, and mechanical states in cellular matters. Before joining EPFL, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara, focused on developing theoretical models of embryonic tissues. His current research focuses on theoretical understanding of biological and living systems as well as soft and active materials through principles of mechanics and physics.

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MechE Inaugural Lecture: From Particle Packings to Embryonic Tissues: Understanding Soft and Biological Materials