Cellular Patterns  book cover
1st Edition

Cellular Patterns

ISBN 9781482259612
Published December 11, 2017 by CRC Press
264 Pages 172 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The mechanics underlying the form and structure of biological tissues is being increasingly investigated and appreciated, with new results appearing at a fast pace. Cellular Patterns covers the salient elements of this thriving field of research in a textbook style, including both historic landmark results and recent achievements.

By building on concepts such as packing, confinement, surface tension, and elastic instabilities, the book explains the structure and the shape of sheet-like and bulk tissues by adapting the mechanics of continuous media to living matter. It reviews experimental results and empirical laws, and wherever possible, it discusses more than a single theoretical interpretation of a given phenomenon.

The in-depth treatment of technical details, the many boxes summarizing essential physical and biological ideas, and an extensive set of problems make this book suitable as a complementary textbook for a graduate course in biophysics and as a standalone reference for students and researchers in biophysics, bioengineering, and mathematical biology interested in the mechanics of tissue.


  • Provides an overview of patterns and shapes seen in animal tissues in addition to an interpretation of these structures in terms of physical forces and processes
  • Contains detailed analysis and a critical comparison of mechanical models of cells, tissues, and morphogenetic movements
  • Presents a visually rich style which is accessible to physicists and biologists alike

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Cells as Physical Objects

Chapter 3: Inplane Structure of Singlelayer Tissues

Chapter 4: Shape of Epithelia

Chapter 5: Morphogenesis

Chapter 6: Bulk Tissues

Chapter 7: Afterthoughts

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Antonio Siber, Institute of Physics, Zagreb, Croatia

Primoz Ziherl, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana, and Jozef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia


"The book by Siber and Ziherl, a worthy progeny of Thompson’s "On Growth and Form", is an illuminating treatise on and about tissue biophysics and pattern formation, but most of all it is a superbly illustrated scientific tome that will be very difficult to surpass, irrespective of what the new additions to the science might be."
Rudolf Podgornik, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana

"A beautifully illustrated, wide-ranging survey of the theoretical and experimental foundations of this rapidly growing field."
Phillip Nelson, University of Pennsylvania

"On the centennial of D’Arcy Thompson’s, "On Growth and Form," here comes a modern update. Well crafted and a pleasure to read."
Randall Kamien, University of Pennsylvania

"In their book "Cellular Patterns" A. Siber and P. Ziherl explain to us pedagogically but without compromise how Biology and Evolution explore Physics. In six chapters and sixty-four homework problems they bring the reader to the state of the art Physics of tissues including morphogenesis. Mathematics is kept at a reasonable level, illustrations are simply beautiful and the style is alert. This book will be useful to researchers and students interested in the essential principles governing the morphology of tissues. I am convinced it will become a reference textbook of the Physics-Biology interface."
Jacques Prost, Member of the French Academy of Sciences, Emeritus CNRS Director at Institut Curie, Distinguished Visiting Professor at National University Singapore

"This book provides a bold and timely comparison of the different physical theories of form and structure of simple animal tissues, with a special emphasis on epithelial. The many references to early ideas, originally explored using rudimentary yet insightful mechanical models, are seamlessly combined with the more contemporary views. The authors have managed to find the right balance between the necessary details and a clear and easy-to-follow thread, stimulating the reader to navigate through the text. The boxes highlighting the key concepts are helpful, as are the superb illustrations. An excellent starting point for both physicists and biologists interested in the mechanics of tissues."
Maria Leptin, EMBL, Heidelberg, and University of Cologne