Modeling cell migration mechanics

Louis S. Prahl, David J. Odde

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Scopus citations


Cell migration is the physical movement of cells and is responsible for the extensive cellular invasion and metastasis that occur in high-grade tumors. Motivated by decades of direct observation of cell migration via light microscopy, theoretical models have emerged to capture various aspects of the fundamental physical phenomena underlying cell migration. Yet, the motility mechanisms actually used by tumor cells during invasion are still poorly understood, as is the role of cellular interactions with the extracellular environment. In this chapter, we review key physical principles of cytoskeletal self-assembly and force generation, membrane tension, biological adhesion, hydrostatic and osmotic pressures, and their integration in mathematical models of cell migration. With the goal of modeling-driven cancer therapy, we provide examples to guide oncologists and physical scientists in developing next-generation models to predict disease progression and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages29
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • Cell mechanics
  • Cell migration
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Mathematical modeling

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