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TU Berlin

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Continuum approach to living matter


Lecture course in winter semester 2016 (1 credit points)

Prof. Jaume Casademunt
, University of Barcelona

February 1 - 11, 2016

Monday, 10:15 - 11:45 h
Thursday, 10:15 - 11:45 h

ER 164 (TU Berlin, ER-building)

First lecture:
Monday, February 1, 2016

Course Outline

The course will develop a physical approach to biological systems, modeled as soft active materials, from a hydrodynamic perspective. On the basis of linear irreversible thermodynamics, and consistently with symmetry principles, a general phenomenological framework, the active polar gels theory, will be constructed and discussed in detail. The phenomenological interpretation of the parameters will be completed with a discussion of their connection with a more microscopic description of kinetic processes of molecular linkers, introducing the concept of fluidization.
Examples will be worked out in detail to illustrate the use of the approach, including the generation of spontaneous flows, and specific applications to relevant biological problems. These will include the modeling of lamellipodia in actin-based cell motility and the study of instabilities and collective modes in expanding epithelial tissues. The concept of active turbulence will also be discussed.



1. Introduction, thermodynamics of simple fluids, active polar liquids   

2. Viscoelasticity, active polar gels, discussion of parameters and fluidization

3. Spontaneous flows, actin-based cell motility

4. Collective modes in epithelial tissues, active turbulence


Auxiliary Material:

1. Thermodynamics (PDF, 3,5 MB)

2. Simple fluids (PDF, 2,1 MB)

3. Nematic elasticity (PDF, 1,4 MB)

Bibliography (PDF, 45,7 KB)

Zusatzinformationen / Extras