Prof. Elisabeth Fischer-Friedrich, research group leader at Physics of Life (PoL), began her Heisenberg Professorship in February 2023. To introduce her to the Physics Faculty, she delivered an inaugural lecture on November 7th, focusing on her research on "How Cellular Surface Tension Shapes Cells and Tissues."
In her lecture, she explained the various facets of her research, all of which revolve around the surface tension of cells. Surface tension refers to the force acting on the cell membrane to maintain the cell's shape within its environment.
She introduced what surface tension is and how it responds to external forces, utilizing a method developed by her lab and collaborators, which involves machinery capable of applying forces to a single cell.
Using this methodology, she concluded her talk with four key points:
1. She explained that surface tension is regulated by motor proteins located in the outer layer of the cell, known as the cortical cell layers.
2. She also demonstrated that surface tension is not necessarily uniform.
3. She detailed how the actin cortex can bear tension without rupture.
4. She discussed the role of surface tension in shaping tissues, such as the brain and liver.
The lecture was engaging and holds promise for future results.
We warmly welcome Prof. Fischer-Friedrich!