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In July 2009, many experts in the mathematical modelling of biological sciences gathered in Les Houches for a 4-week summer school on the mechanics and physics of biological systems. The goal of the school was to present to students and researchers an integrated view of new trends and challenges in physical and mathematical aspects of biomechanics. While the scope for such a topic is very wide, we focused on problems where solid and fluid mechanics play a central role. The school covered both the general mathematical theory of mechanical biology in the context of continuum mechanics but also the specific modelling of particular systems in the biology of the cell, plants, microbes, and in physiology.
These lecture notes are organised (as was the school) around five different main topics all connected by the common theme of continuum modelling for biological systems: Bio-fluidics, Bio-gels, Bio-mechanics, Bio-membranes, and Morphogenesis. These notes are not meant as a journal review of the topic but rather as a gentle tutorial introduction to the readers who want to understand the basic problematic in modelling biological systems from a mechanics perspective.
1. Locomotion at Low Reynolds number; 2. Surface Tension; 3. Dynamics of Complex Bio-Fluids; 4. Active Fluids and Gels; 5. Elasticity and Dynamics of Cytoskeletal Filaments and their Networks; 6. Morphoelasticity - A theory of elastic growth; 7. Mechanics of Tumour Growth: Multiphase Models, Adhesion, and Evolving Configurations; 8. Microbial mechanics: the growth and form of filamentary micro-organism; 9. The physics of the cell membrane; 10. Modeling Plant Morphogenesis and Growth; 11. How cell mechanics shapes embryos