The objective of the BIO theme is to improve our current understanding of the biomechanical behavior and physiological functions of biomaterials–to be understood as materials from and for the biological systems. The focus will be initially set on the materials of living systems, paying special attention to application to humans. It will be possibly extended in the future to include engineered, synthetic materials according to the evolution of the Coss&Vita LIA.
Living systems show an amazing capability to change not only their geometry but also their internal architecture and physical properties in response to changes in their environment. Indeed, most of biological tissues are strongly architectured materials showing a hierarchical organization spanning several scales, from the molecule to the organ. This architecture is continuously adapted to the environment by the cells in response to the prevailing mechanical and biochemical stimuli. This lifelong adaptation process results in tissue growth and remodeling and is critical for the tissue to properly accomplish its mechanical and biological functions. In humans, abnormal growth and remodeling are related to serious disorders such as osteoporosis, atherosclerosis and tumor growth. Therefore, biomechanical behavior and physiological functions of a living system result from the integration of cells, tissues and organ properties in the context of the whole organism interacting with its environment.
A thorough study of biomaterials requires a multimodal approach combining testing, modeling and simulation. Moreover, the multiscale structure (molecule-cell-tissue-organ) and the adaptive behavior of these materials, as well as the multiphysics nature of the underlying phenomena (mechanics, biochemistry, piezoelectricity…) call for new, generalized continuum models capable of properly accounting for such complexity. Eventually, biomechanical modeling should take into account the uncertainty existing about the specific organization of the biological system in hand, especially at the lower scales (where experiments cannot provide precise information), by means of suitable stochastic approaches. Researchers of the F2M and M&MOCS will provide complementary expertise in all these areas. Their synergistic activity will constitute an ideal basis to develop and enforce new methods and scientific approaches to biomaterial sciences as well as to promote the activities of the Coss&Vita LIA worldwide in the mechanical and mathematical scientific communities working on biological systems.