Mateusz is interested in the role of mechanical forces in plant morphogenesis.
Plant cells are surrounded by cell walls, which connect cells to each other and prevent them from moving. Thus, cell forms must emerge from carefully regulated growth of neighbouring cells, which mutually adjust their growth to each other.
At the subcellular level, plant growth is driven by the turgor pressure, which generates tension on the cell walls. Notably, the balance between cell wall biosynthesis and modification determines the directions of growth.
In the Smith lab Mateusz uses the confocal image analysis software MorphoGraphX to track cell growth rates and cell wall elastic expansion.
He is also interested in developing the biophysical tools to measure the stiffness in plants. One of them, the Cellular Force Microscopy (CFM) is a microindentation technique that records the force and displacement to determine the stiffness.