Further funding for Richard!

Congratulations to Richard for winning a travel grant from the Research Conference Fund of the Institute of Physics! This grant will allow him to present his latest research results at the 4th International Soft Matter Conference in Grenoble this September. Well done Richard!


Colloidal Entrainment

figure2Particle entrainment by Raphaël, just accepted on Nat Com!

What happens to passive microparticles within a suspension of microorganisms? If the particles are small, they can be entrained over large distances by the micro swimmers. These interactions are rare, but their magnitude is large and -as it turns out- they end up dominating particle dynamics, which now resembles a jump-diffusion process. This is presented and discussed in details in a new work led by Raphaël, just accepted on Nature Communications. A preprint of the article (well.. a previous version) is currently available on the Arxiv.

Update. The article is now available here.

Visiting IMEDEA

Good news today! My application for a Visiting Fellowship to the Mediterranean Institute od Advanced Studies (IMEDEA) has been approved by the University of the Balearic Islands! I will be working with my good friend Idan Tuval from mid July to the beginning of September. We’ll work on experiments and modelling related to a parasite of dinoflagellates. Really looking forward to it!

Physics Viewpoint!


Together with Idan Tuval, I have been recently working on a Viewpoint for Physics, about an interesting recent PRL publication by Greta Quaranta, Marie-Eve Aubin Tam and Daniel Tam, from the University of Delft. They proved that flagellar synchronisation in Chlamydomonas depends on the presence of striated fibres joining the basal bodies of the two flagella. Apparenly, synchronisation of flagella from different cells or from the same cell can be based on completely different mechanisms! This is a really nice work, which opens a lot of new questions…

Scattering Microalgae


Matteo’s first paper as just been accepted in Physical Review Letters!

The paper concerns the following problem: which forces determine the motion of microorganisms through heterogeneous media (think e.g. soil or bottom sediments in lakes or coastal areas)? Current theories are divided in two groups, those that consider this to be mainly a microhydrodynamics problem, and those which do not consider fluid dynamics at all and treat it as a contact interaction problem. So: which one is right? For microorganisms pushing themselves from the back, recent work has shown that the interaction is fundamentally hydrodynamic. Matteo has now shown that for organisms with front-mounted flagella, instead, the situation is much more complex and both fluid-mediated interactions and direct contact have to be taken into account. The paper is not out yet, but you can already read a draft version in the arXiv.

This work was a collaboration with Kela Lushi (Brown), Idan Tuval (IMEDEA), and Vasily Kantsler (Warwick).

Update: the paper has been published! Check it out here!