Miri Adler, Zuckerman Israeli Postdoctoral Scholar, is one of the authors of a paper published in The Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Animal tissues are made up of multiple cell types that are increasingly well-characterized, yet our understanding of the core principles that govern tissue organization is still incomplete. This is in part because many observable tissue characteristics, such as cellular composition and spatial patterns, are emergent properties, and as such, they cannot be explained through the knowledge of individual cells alone. Here we propose a complex systems theory perspective to address this fundamental gap in our understanding of tissue biology. We introduce the concept of cell categories, which is based on cell relations rather than cell identity. Based on these notions we then discuss common principles of tissue modularity, introducing compositional, structural, and functional tissue modules. Cell diversity and cell relations provide a basis for a new perspective on the underlying principles of tissue organization in health and disease.