The physical limits to chemical sensing have been established and tested for single cells. However, recent experiments have demonstrated that cells can surpass these limits when they communicate. The theoretical limits to the precision of collective sensing are still poorly understood. In this talk, I will discuss three types of cell-cell communication (short-range, long-range, and self-communication) and describe how they alter the physical limits for fundamental sensory tasks, including gradient sensing by epithelial organoids and flow sensing by metastatic cancer cells. This work extends the study of sensory limits to multicellular ensembles and lays the blueprint for a generic theory of collective sensing.
CPBF an NSF PFC