In this talk, we develop a minimal model of morphogenesis of a surface where the dynamics of the intrinsic geometry is diffusive growth sourced by topological defects. We show that a positive (negative) defect can dynamically generate a cone (hyperbolic cone). We analytically explain features of the growth profile as a function of position and time, and predict that in the presence of a positive defect, a bump forms with height profile h(t) ~ t^(1/2) for early times t. To incorporate the effect of the mean curvature, we exploit the fact that for axisymmetric surfaces, the extrinsic geometry can be deduced entirely by the intrinsic geometry. We find that the resulting stationary geometry, for polar order and small bending modulus, is a deformed football.

We apply our framework to various biological systems. In an ex-vivo setting of cultured murine neural progenitor cells, we show that our framework is consistent with the observed cell accumulation at positive defects and depletion at negative defects. In an in-vivo setting, we show that the defect configuration consisting of a bound +1 defect state, which is stabilized by activity, surrounded by two -1/2 defects can create a stationary ring configuration of tentacles, consistent with observations of a basal marine invertebrate Hydra.