School of Physics Colloquium

Shiladitya Banerjee: Shaping Robust and Adaptive Living Matter

Speaker: Shiladitya Banerjee

Title: Shaping Robust and Adaptive Living Matter

Abstract: How living organisms encode shapes during development has been a longstanding question. Morphogenesis, the emergence of form, hinges on a limited repertoire of cell behaviors such as growth, motility, cell division, and shape changes. These active behaviors require precise control over cell mechanics, namely the active forces generated by cells and the material properties governing their response to these forces. In this talk, I will present our work combining theory and data-driven modeling that reveal the fundamental biophysical rules governing cell shape control. Specifically, I will discuss how the feedback between a cell's physical properties and biochemical inputs facilitates robust and directed morphogenesis. Examples will be drawn from both multicellular systems and unicellular microbes, shedding light on universal principles of cell size and shape regulation and providing insights into the adaptive advantages conferred by shape changes under stress.


Bio:  Shiladitya Banerjee is an Associate Professor of Physics at Carnegie Mellon University. His research focuses on developing quantitative theory and data-driven models to understand how the internal structures and machinery of a living cell impact its mechanics, movement, and ability to communicate with other cells. Banerjee earned his undergraduate degree at Chennai Mathematical Institute, India, and completed his Ph.D. in Physics at Syracuse University in 2013 under the supervision of M. Cristina Marchetti. His doctoral work was recognized with the APS Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Biological Physics. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago, Banerjee joined the Faculty of Physics & Astronomy at University College London in 2016. In 2020, Banerjee moved to Carnegie Mellon University as an Assistant Professor of Physics. Banerjee has been a recipient of various awards including the EPSRC New Investigator Award, Royal Society University Research Fellowship, Human Frontiers Science Program Young Investigator grant, NIH MIRA award, and more recently APS Early Career Prize in Biological Physics.

Event Details


  • Date: 
    Monday, February 26, 2024 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm

Marcus Nano/Room 1116-1118