Institute for the Physics of Living Systems


IPLS Seminar: Prof. Suraj Shankar (University of Michigan)

03 June 2024, 2:00 pm–3:00 pm

Prof. Suraj Shankar

Title: Wet, active solids: Physics and Physiology

Event Information

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2nd Floor Seminar Room (2.30), LMCB
MRC Building
Gower Street

Abstract: Water is the dominant component of all cells. While rapid plant motions are often driven by water movement through hydrated cells and tissue, the dynamical consequences of intracellular fluid flow (hydraulics) for animal physiology remain poorly understood. The primary effector of all animal behavior and locomotion is muscle which functions as a complex and hierarchically organized contractile machine. I will show that a coarse-grained multiscale description of muscle fibers as a soft, wet, active solid is essential to understand the range and limits of muscular motion and power generation. I will demonstrate two consequences of this description - the dynamics of active contractions are constrained by fluid flow within a muscle fiber ('active hydraulics') and 3D mechanical response of a muscle fiber is nonreciprocal ('odd elasticity') allowing it to function as a soft engine using strain cycles. I will conclude by highlighting some physiological implications of these results
Host: Philip Pearce (philip.pearce@ucl.ac.uk)  

About the Speaker

Prof. Suraj Shankar

at (University of Michigan)

Suraj Shankar is an Assistant Professor of Physics and LSA Collegiate Fellow at the University of Michigan. Previously, he was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from Syracuse University and a B.Tech. (Hons.) in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He is a recipient of the 2020 APS Dissertation award and the 2022 IUPAP Early Career Scientist Prize in Statistical Physics. His research interests broadly span soft, active matter and biological physics, with a focus on studying collective phenomena and their functional consequences.

More about Prof. Suraj Shankar