Biophysics and Soft Matter Seminar

Controlling Molecular Motor Systems With Patterned Boundaries

Tyler Ross, Caltech Bioengineering
Location: P8445.2

Monday, 27 March 2023 01:30PM PDT


Living systems demonstrate the ability to utilize molecular motors to perform mechanical tasks such as cell migration and division. Yet, we lack engineered active matter systems that can perform similar tasks, as well as a comprehensive set of theories to guide their design. This talk will focus on how patterned boundaries can control active systems. The first part of the talk will delve into an experimental system where spatial and temporal localization of motor clustering makes it possible to dynamically create and move of microtubule asters and fluid flows. The second part of the talk will cover a theoretical prediction of an analog to Snell's law for self-propelled objects (gliders) that encounter a resistance discontinuity. We will explore the potential for organizing the paths of gliders via an analog to ray optics and will consider a potential experimental implementation. The use of boundaries to control active matter represents a crucial step forward in understanding how active systems can be harnessed to perform mechanical tasks, and how life-like systems may be created in the future.