202.673 Mechanics of cells, tissues and biological systems
This course is in all assigned curricula part of the STEOP.
This course is in at least 1 assigned curriculum part of the STEOP.

2021W, VO, 4.0h, 6.0EC


  • Semester hours: 4.0
  • Credits: 6.0
  • Type: VO Lecture
  • Format: Presence

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of the course, students are able to...

1. understand the application of applied continuum mechanics to the solution of problems in biological systems, from cells to tissues.

2. apply mechanical engineering analysis to understand human physiology and disease, from cells to tissues.


Subject of course

•             General presentation of cells: history of cell concept in biology, functional biology, roles of the cell (exchanges, genetics, "ordered" organ constitution), cell composition, main types of cellular


•             Micromechanical and molecular foundations of mechanobiology (mechanotransduction, signaling, etc.)

•             Growth and remodeling: Important experimental and clinical observations, including tensional homeostasis, pathologies (aneurysms, tortuosity, etc.), and observations from comparative biology

              and animal models;

•             Major mathematical approaches to model growth and remodeling in soft tissues, including the kinematic growth theory, constrained mixture models, hybrid approaches, open system

              thermodynamics, and computational implementations;

•             Thermodynamics of the cell. Exchange of ionic and organic species. Laws of diffusion (Fick’s law) and thermodynamics. Diffusion through the cell wall, membrane exchanges. Influence of

               osmotic pressure. Action of physiological saline.

•             Tissue biology basics. Link between microstructure and macroscale properties, and experimental characterization techniques. Structure, function and mechanical behaviour of tissues and

              organs (bone, cartilage, ligament, tendon, intervertebral disc, skin, nerve, skeletal muscle, heart, lung, artery, vein). Composition, function and mechanics of biological fluids.

•             Cardiovascular biomechanics. Cardiovascular system. Biodynamic biological fluids. Biomechanics of the blood circulation. Ability to model specific problems such as the pulse wave in arteries,

               the effect of compression on the veins for the venous blood return

•             Modeling approaches for continuum biomechanics of soft tissues: reminders of the basics in finite deformation mechanics and hyperelasticity, poroelasticity, chemoelasticty, other constitutive

              equations, relationships between the constitutive equations and the microstructure of tissues.

•             Characterization of damage and failure mechanics of soft tissues, local analysis of rupture modes in soft tissues, experimental characterization and numerical implementation

•             Advanced experimental approaches for soft tissue mechanics: full-field measurement techniques, imaging techniques, link between experiments and modeling

•             Introduction to inverse problems, Identification of material parameters from full-field measurements, Characterization of maps of material parameters at different scales

Teaching methods

Direct teaching and tutorials to introduce and practice theoretical aspects

Reading and commenting scientific papers

Introduction to using a finite-element software dedicated to mechanobiology of soft-tissues

Mode of examination


Additional information

This course will be taught in presence every Friday morning from 9.00 (some exceptions may occur but they will be notified in advance).

The first course will be Friday 8th October at 9.00 at lecture hall HS14A.

Each course will be split like the following:

1. there will be a conference lecture by the professor of about 1h from 9.00 to 10.00. The topic of the lecture will be announced in advance and the slides of the powerpoint presentation will be available on TUWEL about 1 week before the day of the course

2. there will be an interactive tutorial session of about 1h from 10.15 to 11.00. During this interactive session, the students can ask questions about the conference lecture to have clarifications, and work on exercises related to the lecture. Exercises will be posted on TUWEL about 1 week before the day of the course (same time as the powerpoint presentation).

3. there will be another lecture by the professor of about 1h from 11.15 to 12.00 during which he will show the solution of exercises and give explanations. 

For specific  information please email directly the Professor at stephane.avril@tuwien.ac.at.


A brief meeting will be organized about these preliminary information. It will be online at: https://tuwien.zoom.us/j/9778307194 on  Friday 1st October at 10.00. There you can ask all the questions you want about this course.


  • Avril, Stéphane


Course dates

Fri10:00 - 10:3001.10.2021 via ZOOM (LIVE)Preliminary Information - siehe TUWEL
Fri09:00 - 12:0008.10.2021 - 28.01.2022HS 14A Günther Feuerstein Vorlesung
Mechanics of cells, tissues and biological systems - Single appointments
Fri01.10.202110:00 - 10:30 via ZOOMPreliminary Information - siehe TUWEL
Fri08.10.202109:00 - 12:00HS 14A Günther Feuerstein Vorlesung
Fri15.10.202109:00 - 12:00HS 14A Günther Feuerstein Vorlesung
Fri22.10.202109:00 - 12:00HS 14A Günther Feuerstein Vorlesung
Fri29.10.202109:00 - 12:00HS 14A Günther Feuerstein Vorlesung
Fri05.11.202109:00 - 12:00HS 14A Günther Feuerstein Vorlesung
Fri12.11.202109:00 - 12:00HS 14A Günther Feuerstein Vorlesung
Fri19.11.202109:00 - 12:00HS 14A Günther Feuerstein Vorlesung
Fri26.11.202109:00 - 12:00HS 14A Günther Feuerstein Vorlesung
Fri03.12.202109:00 - 12:00HS 14A Günther Feuerstein Vorlesung
Fri10.12.202109:00 - 12:00HS 14A Günther Feuerstein Vorlesung
Fri17.12.202109:00 - 12:00HS 14A Günther Feuerstein Vorlesung
Fri14.01.202209:00 - 12:00HS 14A Günther Feuerstein Vorlesung
Fri21.01.202209:00 - 12:00HS 14A Günther Feuerstein Vorlesung
Fri28.01.202209:00 - 12:00HS 14A Günther Feuerstein Vorlesung

Examination modalities

Project assignments

Course registration

Begin End Deregistration end
12.07.2021 08:00 01.10.2021 08:00 01.10.2021 08:00



No lecture notes are available.

Previous knowledge

Mathematics: linear algebra, matrices

Continuum solid mechanics: stress, strains, linear elasticity, equilibrium equations

Basic background in biology