Northwestern Events Calendar


Complex Systems Seminar: Sebastian Fuerthauer: Towards a physics of living materials

When: Thursday, April 15, 2021
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM Central

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Laura Nevins  

Group: Physics and Astronomy Complex Systems Seminars

Category: Academic



Living cells move, deform and divide. The engine of these behaviors is the cytoskeleton, a highly crosslinked network of polymer filaments and molecular scale motors that use chemical energy to do work.

We develop a theory that predicts how the micro-scale properties of molecular motors and crosslinks tune the network's emergent material properties and generate predictable, and possibly controllable, behaviors.

I will present how this theory is constructed, and discuss its implications for cytoskeletal networks in vitro and in vivo, highlighting how it has helped to quantitatively understand motor driven microtubule motion in an artificial system made from XCTK2 motors and stabilized microtubules, and how it resolves long-standing puzzles about the motion of microtubules in spindles - the structures that segregate chromosomes during cell division. I will then discuss some future research directions and sketch how the approach taken here can be generalized to describe different and larger biological assemblies such as cells and tissues and form the basis for a quantitative physics of living materials.

Sebastian Fuerthauer, Flatiron Institute, Center for Computational Biology, New York, New York

Host: Istvan Kovacs

Keywords: Physics, Astronomy, Complex Systems

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