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Continuum approach to living matter
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Lecture course in winter semester 2016 (1
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)
Monday, February 1, 2016
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
1. Thermodynamics 
2. Simple fluids 
3. Nematic elasticity