A quorum of coupled artificial cells on a chip

  Alexandra M. Tayar [1]  ,  Roy H. Bar-Ziv [1]  ,  Vincent Noireux[2]  
[1] Weizmann institute of science, department of Materials and Interfaces.
[2] University of Minnesota, department of Physics and Nanotechnology.

The processes of self-organization and spontaneous synchrony in nature have fascinated scientists for many years, yet many questions remain open. Synchrony and order can emerge in different processes from the collective adjustment of rhythm of bird motion in folks, to the development of multicellular organisms, starting from a single fertilized egg and forming complex animals. We study the mechanism of pattern formation and synchronization in a population of "artificial cells" using a novel biochip platform. The biochip enables us to emulate complex biological processes such as gene expression patterns, propagating waves and synchrony in populations. Gene expression in the biochip reveals a rich dynamical system that is controlled by geometry, offering a means for studying biological networks outside a living cell.