Modeling living tissue mechanics and growth

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MorphoMechanX is an AddOn for MorphoDynamX that enables the mechanical modeling of biological tissues by means of Finite Element Method (FEM) for solid mechanics. Unlike engineering FEM softwares, MorphoMechanX is specialized for elements that grow and subdivide, and allows growth and mechanics to interact with integrated genetic network simulations. The software is highly parallelized by means of the Thrust library which can use Cuda on NVIDIA GPUs or OMP on the host processor. MorphoMechanX is developed in collaboration with Gabriella Mosca, and has evolved from her PhD work.

Steady state mechanics

Simulation showing the turgor induced stresses on a template extracted from confocal images of Arabidopsis puzzle cells (see Sapala et al. 2018, eLife).

Realistic templates extracted with MorphoGraphX, or idealized plant cells are inflated with turgor pressure and the resulting stresses visualized. These simulations are primarily used to study the effect of cell geometry on stress, or to interpret the results of micro-indentation experiments performed with the Cellular Force Microscope (CFM) and its controlling software MorphoRobotX.

Dynamic growth mechanics

Simulation of growth on a continuous tissue. Increased growth of the top causes the structure to buckle like a daffodil corona.

MorphoMechanX allows finite elements to grow, with growth specified directly as model parameters, or from the output of molecular signaling networks performed in MorphoDynamX. The software can be used both for cellular models and continuous tissue simulation.

Download pre-compiled versions of the software (pre-release) for Linux (Mint 19 or Ubuntu 20.04):

For older versions of MorphoMechanX, go to

Installation instructions for the pre-compiled packages can be found here:

Some pre-release sample models can be found in the Git repo (follow the instructions under each repository to run them):

To obtain the source code (pre-release) of MorphoMechanX and more sample models, please email Richard Smith

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