MECABIONIC is a thematic scientific program on mechanobiology sponsored by the Académie Systèmes Complexes of the Université Côte d'Azur (UniCA).
MECABIONIC involves different UniCA research laboratories including LJAD, IBV, INPHYNI, IPMC and IRCAN.

The behavior, functioning and development of biological systems are controlled by the synergy of biochemical and physical cues. Mechanobiology specifically focuses on the study of mechanics in a biological context. Mechanical forces can be intrinsically generated and biochemically regulated within cells or can result from  external cues  resulting from the cell physical environment. In the last decades, ground breaking discoveries have been achieved thanks to major technological advances to test, measure, apply and synthetically reproduce mechanical forces. While now we better appreciate the role of mechanics in numerous biological processes, a joint effort of an interdisciplinary community of scientists is still necessary to unravel (i) the dynamic biochemical and molecular basis of mechanical force production, (ii) the mechanotrunsductive machinery converting forces in de novo biochemical signals, (iii) the multidimensional force fields controlling cell dynamics and (iv) the mechanisms and mechanics responsible for the emergence of higher order cell behavior (homeostasis, coordinated remodeling, flow, oscillation, wave propagation) at the tissue and organism level. To study this, a large spectrum of experimental approaches, combining molecular biology with mechanics, advanced optics and image analysis are developed and implemented. In addition, mathematical modelling is a powerful tool to explore a large number of scenarios at a lower time and cost than laboratory trials and to delineate a formal physical framework integrating experimental measurements that can theoretically reproduce processes and predict features of the system that are then back tested experimentally.

While in the past, the genetic and biochemical basis of disease have been the main focus of bio-medical studies, new advances in mechanobiology show  that changes in the mechanical properties  of cells or of the surrounding environment  are key to trigger life threatening disorders such as  atherosclerosis, fibrosis, asthma, osteoporosis, heart failure and cancer. Therefore, further work at the interface between fundamental and applied sciences is necessary to understand the mechanical basis of disease and to eventually develop new efficient therapies and treatments with lesser invasiveness.

This thematic semester will bring together an international community of scientists  with complementary background, skills and knowledge via a series of seminars, symposia, summer schools and colloquia. The goal of this academic program is to further develop and strengthen interdisciplinarity and to foster the emergence of new collaborative projects among UniCA and other international institutions.


  • MECABIONIC Seminars series

The aim of the MECABIONIC Seminars series is to highlight recent advances and breakthroughs in mechanobiology and to gather researchers tackling the mechanics of the living. We believe this to be a unique opportunity to foster exciting and insightful discussions among a multi- and inter-disciplinary community of experts focused on the understanding of the fundamental biophysical principles powering life from the molecule to the organism level.

In the last decades, biology has been increasingly becoming a science at the cross-road of mathematics, physics, chemistry, engineering and computer science. Therefore, it is key to promote synergistic interaction between scientists working in different disciplines that often have difficulties cross-communicating. With the MECABIONIC SEMINAR series, we intend to break the communication barriers by imposing a pedagogic seminar format adapted to a multi- and inter-disciplinary community of junior and senior scientists.

This seminar event will foster interaction among scientists of different UniCA institutions (iBV, LJAD, IRCAN, IPMC, INPHYNI, …) and promote new interdisciplinary collaborations. This initiative will also expand UniCA worldwide renown since knowledgeable international scientists will be invited to present on site at the MECABIONIC SEMINARS and will interact with the UniCA community.

Monday October 30th, 2023 11h30 - 12h30: Matej Krajnc, Jozef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Friday January 19th, 2024 14h -15h30: Emmanuèle Helfer, CINAM Marseille
Monday March 25th, 2024 11h: Médéric Argentina, Université Côte d'Azur
Monday May 6th, 2024 11h: Sylvain Gabriele, University of Mons

Rachele Allena
Chloé Feral
Frédéric Luton
Benjamin Mauroy
Xavier Noblin
Matteo Rauzi