Click the image below to view the full size version of this cover.

Created by: Erika Tsingos (@tisrenk), Roeland Merks (@roeland_merks), Leiden University (@LeidenScienceEN)

Issue 263: Cells secrete a vast gamut of extracellular matrix proteins into the microenvironment. In our recent work we developed a hybrid cellular Potts model for cells interacting with extracellular matrix fibers modelled with molecular dynamics methods. In a typical simulation, a contracting cell pulled in fibers from all directions. Though the cell pulled isotropically, local heterogeneity in network structure resulted in anisotropic matrix displacement. To visualize this, we made all fibers distinct by giving them unique colors depending on their initial position. Then, we added a motion blur-like effect by darkening the colors for each subsequent timepoint, which we overlayed to create this artwork, which was also featured on the cover of Biophysical Journal. We will use this new model to investigate how the tug-of-war between cells in a fibrous matrix can steer pattern formation.