Biological interfaces organize living organisms by shaping a hierarchy of compartments. At the smaller scales, biological membranes interact with membrane proteins to define sub-cellular organelles of complex shape and topology. At the cellular scale, cortical complexes determine the mechanical properties of cells and control their ability to deform and move on a substrate, in a fluid, or within complex 3D environments. Collections of cells form epithelial layers, which define organ boundaries in animals and which can resist deformation and adopt 3D functional morphologies thanks to the mechanics of individual cells. Plants also exhibit a variety of thin structures whose shape is determined during growth. The mechanics of these biological thin structures has profound implications on their biological functions, and a more quantitative understanding of these mechano-biology connections has only recently started to emerge.
In parallel, in recent years there has been an impetus in developing strategies to control the shape of thin and deformable artificial structures, sometimes replicating the principles behind biological morphogenesis. Areas where applications of bio-inspired devices are under development include soft-robotics, biomedical tools, smart and adaptive materials and structures, etc.
In this symposium, we welcome contributions in this interdisciplinary area at the interface between Mechanics and Biology, which examine, identify, or exploit the mechanical principles behind shape control in biological or engineered thin structures through theory, experiments and computation.