Richard has just received the great news that he’s been selected to participate in the 2016 summer school in Cargèse on Active Complex Matter. Well done Richard!
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…
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.
Update: the paper has been published! Check it out here!
I just got very good news! Our lab has been awarded a Research Grant from The Royal Society. This grant will allow us to buy new equipment and kickstart a new collaboration with Dimitris Petroutsos (CEA, Grenoble) and Idan Tuval (IMEDEA, Mallorca) on Chlamydomonas phototaxis. This project will be the focus of Richard Henshaw’s Ph.D.
Matteo is currently attending the 2015 Boulder Summer School, on Soft Matter in and out of equilibrium. Boulder summer schools have a long tradition. They are quite long (4 weeks!), extremely well organised, and really interesting. Plus, Boulder is a wonderful place especially if you’re outdoors oriented!
Raphael is leaving this evening for Aberdeen! He is going for a conference on Physics and Biology of Active Systems, where he will present his (almost completed) work on bioactive dispersal of tracers. He found a cool effect that was not noticed before but ends up dominating the statistical properties of the tracers, which disperse with an effective diffusivity more than one order of magnitude larger than previously estimated. We’ll write-up soon(ish) so watch this space!
The Journal of the Royal Society: Interface just accepted our latest paper, which includes the first report of recurring defects in metachronal coordination of eukaryotic flagella (see also Arxiv version). These defects, which we observe in Volvox carteri, are a type of incomplete coordination which we think might originate from a variation, along the surface of Volvox, in the frequency at which cells beat their flagella. They might be related to so-called chimera states of groups of interacting oscillators…. More to come on this: we’re still working on it!
Matteo has been accepted at the 2015 EMBO Practical Course in Advanced Optical Microscopy. This is a truly excellent course on all aspects of optical microscopy, which includes plenty of hands-on experience. I am certain it will be a blast for Matteo! ….and we’re looking forward to him returning to the lab with plenty of new ideas !
I am very pleased to say that Richard Henshaw (Maths & Phys, U. Warwick) will join our group in October for his PhD. Richard has already been working with us for his final year project, looking at movement of Micromonas pusilla an important picoeukaryote. Looking forward to working with him again for his PhD !!
Matteo has been accepted to the IFF Spring School 2015 to take place in Julich in late February. This is a well established spring school, which has been running for over 40 years. This year it will focus on Materials, Soft Matter and Biophysics.
Well done Matteo!