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Designing a crawling cell using soft materials

Wednesday 22nd May 2013 - 11:10 to 11:30
INI Seminar Room 1
Eukaryotic cells have been observed to be able to move in various media. One obvious example is provided by the keratocyte cells which are able to crawl on a 2D substrate (such as glass slides). In this talk, we aim to build a minimal hydrodynamic model of a crawling cell using ideas from soft matter physics such as binary liquid and liquid crystals. The simplest model of a cell is probably just a droplet sitting on a surface. However, a passive droplet will not be able to move on its own. To make it moves, we have to add some non-equilibrium physics into it. This is provided by actin polymerisation and actin-myosin contraction inside the cell cytoskeleton. These two active processes can then be coarse-grained into a set of hydrodynamic equations which are similar to that of active liquid crystals.
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University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons