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Experimental and Theoretical approaches to cell mechanics

23 April - 6 May 2017 | Bangalore, India

Registration deadline

31 January 2017

Selected participants will be notified by

28 February 2017

Payment deadline

15 March 2017

Apply now!

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About the lecture course

Mechanical forces play a fundamental role in a multitude of cellular phenomena. Typically, such forces arise from two molecular-scale processes, (i) the action of molecular motor proteins and (ii) polymerization dynamics; both of which involve an interplay between Brownian effects and non-equilibrium molecular processes. These mechanisms not only operate at the scale of a single molecule, but they also exhibit collective dynamics, generating active stresses and flows that can change cell shapes, drive cell locomotion, or result in tissue remodeling.

Workshop illustration


In recent years, tremendous progress has been made in understanding the main principles behind such “active dynamical processes” due to the development of fundamentally new theoretical ideas, novel experimental techniques to perform high precision mechanical measurements on live cells, and the development of simplified in-vitro systems. Key to these advancements is a strong interdisciplinary culture between physicists and biologists, and by combining the tools and expertise of the respective fields.


This programme has two aims. First, to introduce the above mentioned physical concepts to students new to the field and post-doctoral fellows wishing to venture into this area of research via a series of pedagogical lectures starting form very basic concepts. Second, to provide PhD students and post-doctoral fellows with a hands-on experience in advanced experimental and computational techniques. Students will develop these techniques from scratch under the guidance of experts. Working in an interdisciplinary environment can be particularly challenging for youngsters venturing into this area of research. To try and overcome this challenge, physics and biology students will work together on the hands-on modules.


LECTURE SERIES (first week)
Cell membrane elasticity and dynamics, molecular motors, physics of biopolymers (actin, microtubules), physics of active polymer networks and cell cytoskeleton, collective cell dynamics, etc. No prior knowledge of biology is assumed, but a good background in basic physics is required to get the most out of the lectures.


HANDS-ON MODULES (second week)

Optical Tweezers, Traction Force Microscopy, Micropipette Aspiration, Atomic Force Microscopy, Image Analysis, Stretchable Substrates, Microfluidics, In-Vitro Systems, Simulation of Active Brownian Particles, etc. PhD students and post-docs interested in interdisciplinary research can apply for this part of the programme.








Registration deadline

31 January 2017

Selected participants will be notified by

28 February 2017

Payment deadline

15 March 2017











Registration includes:

  • accommodation
  • meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • course materials
  • travel for students within India (second class train trip or an equivalent amount)



We will inform the selected participants about the payment modalities in the confirmation e-mail.


Selection criteria

We will choose applicants according to their academic record, motivation and interest in biophysics and how this course will advance their scientific development.


We encourage M.Sc. students in their final year to apply for the theoretical lectures only.

The practical part of the course is intended for more advanced candidates who work or intend to work in the field of cell mechanics. In the application, it should be made clear, how the presented techniques can benefit the applicant’s research.


The registration fee of a number of eligible students (e.g. M.Sc. students) will be waived upon request. The applicants do not have to apply separately for this and will be informed by the organizers in the confirmation e-mail.


Application guidelines

MSc (Masters Degree) students and 5 year Diploma (equivalent to Masters Degree) students who have completed or close to completion may apply ONLY for the theoretical lecture portion. They have to provide their final/current CGPA or percentage marks and a 200 word (max.) writeup describing how this course will benefit them.


PhD students and Post-Doctoral Fellows may apply either for the theoretical course or the full (theory + practicals) programme. They must provide a 150 word (max.) description of their research project or plan and a 200 word (max.) write up of how the course will benefit them.


ALL APPLICANTS (Masters, Diploma, PhD, Post-Docs) must arrange for a recommendation letter to be sent directly to the email address given below before the application deadline. The email subject should be just the name of the candidate as in the application.


Poster specifications

Our posters boards are 140cm wide and 110cm high. We will provide blue tack to stick posters to the boards.


Travel grants

A limited number of travel grants are available for eligible participants. Applicants do not need to apply separately for travel grants for this event. Selection of awardees is handled directly by the organizer who will notify all eligible participants. More information is available at EMBO Travel Grants' page.




Darius Vasco Köster



venue map


The theoretical lectures will be conducted at the Raman Research Institute (RRI), Bangalore and the hands-on modules will be held at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore. Location and other details are provided below and more precise information will be sent by email to those selected.


Raman Research Institute



Raman Research Institute
CV Raman Avenue
Karnataka--560080 Bangalore


National Centre for Biological Sciences



National Centre for Biological Sciences
GKVK Campus, Bellary Rd
Bengaluru--560065, India



Participants will be accommodated in guest houses with attached bath/toilet on a double or triple sharing basis. Daily transport between the guest houses and venue(s) will be provided by the organisers.



From Airport to RRI
The new Bangalore International Airport is about 30 km from the Institute. On arrival, if you have not arranged to be met at the airport, you may either take a pre-paid taxi or a Volvo Bus. If taking a taxi please give Mehkri Circle as the landmark and request the driver to avoid the underpass at the circle but instead take the left side lane up to the traffic signal and turn right on to the C V Raman Avenue. The Institute gate is on the left side of this avenue a few hundred meters from the Circle. The Institute campus wall with stone masonry along the road is recognizable and one gate along this wall is normally open. If taking a Volvo or other bus from the airport, get off at the Bus Stop for Mehkri Circle, which is located before the beginning of the underpass of the Mehkri Circle, opposite to the Air Force Training Command. The Institute is about 500 meters from the Bus Stop.


There are three railway stations at which you might get off: Yeshwantpur, Bangalore Cantonment and Bangalore City. Consider hiring an autorikshaw or a taxi to get to the Institute from railway stations. The driver may be asked to go to the Raman Research Institute campus located close to Mekhri Circle, on the C V Raman Avenue, in Sadashivanagar.


The Main Bus Station where all the government transport buses arrive is situated just opposite the Bangalore City Railway Station. Consider taking an autorikshaw or taxi to get to the Institute.