Emily Gehrels


TPR1 - 3 étage









Biophysics – dynamics of tissue flows and cell rearrangements during embryo morphogenesis

Soft-matter – dynamics of self-organization of colloidal systems under non-equilibrium conditions



The overall goal of my research is three-fold:

  • to understand the physical mechanisms underlying the creation of biological form, especially as it relates to the role of energy consumption and non-equilibrium processes on cell and tissue dynamics
  • to study the dynamics of synthetic self-organizing systems when driven out of equilibrium
  • to develop biologically-inspired methods of self-organization and pattern formation to create novel materials




Emily Gehrels received a Bachelor’s of Science in Physics from Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, USA) in 2012. She then completed her PhD in Applied Physics at Harvard University (Boston, USA) in 2018, working in the group of Vinothan Manoharan on responsive and dynamic systems created from DNA-mediated colloidal interactions. She shifted to studying the dynamics of biological development during her postdoc at the IBDM (Marseille, France) in the group of Thomas Lecuit where she studied the physical mechanisms underlying tissue flows in early Drosophila embryogenesis. In 2023, she began an independent research position as a CNRS chargée de recherche at the CINAM (Marseille, France) in the department of 'Physics and Engineering of Living Systems.'



  • Gehrels, E.W.*, Chakrabortty, B.*, Perrin, M.-E., Merkel, M., Lecuit, T. Curvature gradient drives polarized flow in the Drosophila embryo. PNAS, 2023, 120 (6), e2214205120.
  • Bailles, A.*, Gehrels, E.W.*, Lecuit, T. Mechanochemical principles of spatial and temporal patterns in cells and tissues. Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology, 2022, 38, 321-347.
  • Gehrels, E.W., Rogers, W.B., Zeravcic, Z., Manoharan, V.N. Programming directed motion with DNA-grafted particles. ACS Nano, 2022, 6, 9195-9202.
  • Gehrels, E.W., Klein, E.D., Manoharan, V.N. Modulating and addressing interactions in polymer colloids using light. Materials Horizons, 2020, 7, 586-591.
  • Gehrels, E.W., Rogers, W.B., Manoharan, V.N. Using DNA strand displacement to control the temperature dependence of DNA-mediated colloidal interactions. Soft Matter, 2018, 14, 969 – 984