Motility control in biological microswimmers
Dr. Kirsty Y. Wan
Date & Time
It is often assumed that biological swimmers conform faithfully to certain stereotypes assigned to them by physicists and mathematicians, when the reality is in fact much more complicated. In this talk we will use a combination of theory, experiments, and robotics, to understand the physical and evolutionary basis of motility control in a number of distinguished organisms. These organisms can differ markedly in terms of their size, shape, and arrangement of locomotor appendages, but are united in their use of cilia - the ultimate shape-shifting organelle - to achieve self-propulsion. We will reveal how model species of single-celled eukaryotes control their ciliary dynamics to navigate and steer toward cues in three dimensions. Finally, we will discuss the implications of non-equilibrium statistical physics for microswimmers, particularly the emergence of macroscopic flux cycles in a swimmer's gait repertoire.