An integrative approach to understanding mechanosensation

Christopher C. Poirier, Pablo A. Iglesias

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The ability for a living organism to sense and respond to its external environment is crucial to its survival. Understanding mechanosensation, the mechanism by which organisms react in response to mechanical stimuli, presents many interesting and challenging problems for both experimental and computational biologists. A major difficulty in studying mechanosensors is their inherent multiscale nature. The systems involved in mechanosesnsing can span eight orders of magnitude in length scale and up to 10 orders of magnitude in time scale. Trying to ascertain information across these length and time scales simultaneously is challenging. This problem has led to the need to approach these types of problems using an integrative approach, combining both computational and experimental biology. This review classifies the major types of mechanosensors and explains methods that have been employed in understanding their behavior, both using modeling and experimental techniques. Multiscale modeling methods combined with experimental techniques in an integrative approach are suggested as ways of undertaking the study of such systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-265
Number of pages8
JournalBriefings in bioinformatics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Finite element methods
  • Ion channels
  • Mechanosensation
  • Multiscale modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Molecular Biology


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