Science of Soft Robots – Interdisciplinary integration of mechatronics, material science, and bio-computing

B01-24 : Mechanism for the morphogenesis of flexible fins assembled by cells manipulating rod-shaped equipment


Leader Junpei Kuroda (Osaka University)

Animal organs, especially external organs such as limbs, fins, and wings that are involved in movement, need to have great rigidity and flexibility. These organs are formed by soft cells, extracellular proteins including collagen and keratin, and hard tissues composed of hydroxyapatite. Cells assemble these materials into the proper arrangement to construct functional external motor organs. How, then, can tiny cells correctly construct structures much more massive than themselves? We have conducted research mainly using in vitro culture systems, and found that diverse types of cells construct fish fin morphologies by manipulating non-cell rod-like structures as “equipment”. In this research project, we aim to understand the complex morphogenesis phenomenon as an engineering process by simplifying the behavior of various types of cells as “manipulation of equipment”, and elucidate the mechanism of constructing the flexible fin shape. And we will provide novel insights into the field of soft robotics and biomimetics.