Computational approaches to substrate-based cell motility

Falko Ziebert, Igor S. Aranson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Substrate-based crawling motility of eukaryotic cells is essential for many biological functions, both in developing and mature organisms. Motility dysfunctions are involved in several life-threatening pathologies such as cancer and metastasis. Motile cells are also a natural realisation of active, self-propelled 'particles', a popular research topic in nonequilibrium physics. Finally, from the materials perspective, assemblies of motile cells and evolving tissues constitute a class of adaptive self-healing materials that respond to the topography, elasticity and surface chemistry of the environment and react to external stimuli. Although a comprehensive understanding of substrate-based cell motility remains elusive, progress has been achieved recently in its modelling on the whole-cell level. Here we survey the most recent advances in computational approaches to cell movement and demonstrate how these models improve our understanding of complex self-organised systems such as living cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16019
Journalnpj Computational Materials
StatePublished - Jul 15 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Computer Science Applications


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