Multiscale microtubule mechanochemistry: from dynamic instability to ciliary beds


Prof. L Mahadevan, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Friday 1st July
Venue:
AV Hill Lecture Theatre
Time: 17:00


I will discuss three problems that involve microtubules: a minimal model for dynamic instability, the intermittent growth and shrinkage of a macromolecular assembly first seen in microtubules; a mechanochemically coupled model for the dynamics of flagellar/axonemal beating; and the collective description of passive (and active) beds of filamentous structures such as cilia. The goal is to derive effective coarse-grained theories that might be tested on the anvil of  experiments, past, present and future - success remains mixed !

My work and that of my group centers around using mathematics to understand the organization of matter in space and time,  particularly at the scale observable by our unaided senses, and is thus closely tied in with experience and experiments. I prefer to be led by problems rather than being limited by tools.

In the past, I have worked on a range of problems at the intersection of mathematics and classical and statistical physics, subjects with enormous explanatory power and veins that run deep. While I maintain an interest in these subjects, more recently I have become fascinated by the possibility, remote as it still is, that it is possible to use quantitative approaches in biology, medicine and beyond.

Members of my group come with a range of backgrounds in science and engineering and have gone on to industrial and academic positions in a range of disciplines, and include faculty in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, as well as in engineering and medical schools.


Prof. L Mahadevan's webpage: http://www.seas.harvard.edu/softmat/

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