Self-organising stem cells

Self-organization is a phenomenon in which an overall order arises from local interactions between parts of a disordered system. The process is spontaneous, decentralized, and often is triggered by random fluctuations amplified by positive feedbacks. It underlies the formation of fish schools, bee swarms or crystal growth.

We are investigating how this phenomena contributes to the formation of multicellular organisms. The pre-implantation conceptus (blastocyst) is an ideal self-organizing system as it is autonomous, adaptive, and small enough to be studied in great details.


Through a synthetic approach, we discovered how to promote the in vitro self-organization of stem cells into structures remarkably resembling the mouse blastocyst. We called these models blastoids. Blastoids are amenable to screenings and complex genetic manipulations, which are at the base of scientific and clinical discoveries.. As such, it opens previously inaccessible ways to investigate the interaction rules and design principles underlying self-organization and early development.

Affiliations of the laboratory

The laboratory is at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, Austrian Academy of Science in Vienna. 


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©2017 by Nicolas Rivron Lab.