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Hannezo Group

Physical Principles in Biological Systems

During embryo development, cells must “know” how to behave at the right place and at the right time. The Hannezo group applies methods from theoretical physics to understand how these robust choices occur.

The Hannezo group is particularly interested in design principles and processes of self-organization in biology, at various scales, in close collaboration with cell and developmental biologists. Their methods include tools from solid and fluid mechanics, statistical physics as well as soft matter approaches. Examples of problems that the group is working on – at three different scales – include: 1) how do cytoskeletal elements, which generate forces within cells, self-organize to produce complex spatio-temporal patterns? 2) how do cells concomitantly acquire identities and shape a tissue during development? and 3) how does complex tissue architecture derive from simple self-organizing principles, for instance during branching morphogenesis (in organs such as the kidneys, mammary glands, pancreas, and prostate) as a prototypical example.

On this site:


Image of Daniel Boocock

Daniel Boocock

PhD Student

Image of Zuzana Dunajova

Zuzana Dunajova

PhD Student

Image of Andreas Ehrmann

Andreas Ehrmann

PhD Student

Image of Kasumi Kishi

Kasumi Kishi

PhD Student

Image of Suyash Naik

Suyash Naik

PhD Student

Image of Fabrizio Olmeda

Fabrizio Olmeda


Image of Preeti Sahu

Preeti Sahu


Image of Sreyam Sengupta

Sreyam Sengupta

PhD Student

Image of Mehmet Ucar

Mehmet Ucar


Image of Shilei Xue

Shilei Xue


Current Projects

Stochastic branching in mammalian organs | Active fluids and cell cytoskeleton | Models of fate choices of stem cells during homeostasis and embryo development


Assen FP, Abe J, Hons M, Hauschild R, Shamipour S, Kaufmann W, Costanzo T, Krens G, Brown M, Ludewig B, Hippenmeyer S, Heisenberg C-PJ, Weninger W, Hannezo EB, Luther SA, Stein JV, Sixt MK. 2022. Multitier mechanics control stromal adaptations in swelling lymph nodes. Nature Immunology. View

Hannezo EB, Heisenberg C-PJ. 2022. Rigidity transitions in development and disease. Trends in Cell Biology. 32(5), P433-444. View

Yanagida A, Corujo-Simon E, Revell CK, Sahu P, Stirparo GG, Aspalter IM, Winkel AK, Peters R, De Belly H, Cassani DAD, Achouri S, Blumenfeld R, Franze K, Hannezo EB, Paluch EK, Nichols J, Chalut KJ. 2022. Cell surface fluctuations regulate early embryonic lineage sorting. Cell. 185(5), 777–793.e20. View

Munjal A, Hannezo EB, Tsai TYC, Mitchison TJ, Megason SG. 2021. Extracellular hyaluronate pressure shaped by cellular tethers drives tissue morphogenesis. Cell. 184(26), 6313–6325.e18. View

Ucar MC, Kamenev D, Sunadome K, Fachet DC, Lallemend F, Adameyko I, Hadjab S, Hannezo EB. 2021. Theory of branching morphogenesis by local interactions and global guidance. Nature Communications. 12, 6830. View

View All Publications

ReX-Link: Edouard Hannezo


since 2017 Assistant Professor, Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA)
2015 – 2017 Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow, Gurdon Institute, Cambridge, UK
2015 – 2017 Junior Research Fellow, Trinity College, University of Cambridge, UK
2014 Postdoc, Institut Curie, Paris, France
2014 PhD, Institut Curie and Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France

Selected Distinctions

2019 EMBO Young Investigator Award
2019 ERC Starting Grant
2015 Wellcome Trust Fellowship
2014 Young Researcher Prize of the Bettencourt-Schuller Foundation
2014 Trinity College Junior Research Fellowship
2010 PhD grant from the French Ministry of Research

Additional Information

Download CV
Open Hannezo group website
Physics & Beyond at ISTA

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