Physical modeling of non-equilibrium processes in biological systems

Funding period 2021-2024


                 Cell Physics 2023, 10.-13. October 2023, in Saarbrücken 

                   in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the DGZ 2023


                         Movie about the Center for Biophysics (ZBP)

                               Public Outreach Article in "Scientia"



Biovoxxel workshop (Advanced): Macro scripting and advanced image analysis

Tue, 04/04/2023 - 09:00 to Thu, 06/04/2023 - 16:00

Dr. Jan Brocher
Host: Dr. Hendrik Hähl

Inaugural lecture/Antrittsvorlesung Dr. Bin Qu

Tue, 18/04/2023 - 11:00
Campus Homburg, CIPMM Geb. 48 Auditorium and via MS Teams (link below)

Dr. Bin Qu

How do immune killer cells locate and eliminate tumor cells?

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SFB 1027 Seminar

Tue, 18/04/2023 - 14:15
Campus SB, Building E2 6, Room E04 or online via MS Teams

Dr. Thorsten Auth
Host: Prof. Dr. Heiko Rieger
Theoretical Physics of Living Matter, Forschungszentrum Jülich

Passive and active particles at membranes: deformation-mediated interactions and self-organization in active systems

The plasma membrane is the communication interface for biological cells to exchange information and material with their environment. Furthermore, the membrane and the attached cortical cytoskeleton provide mechanical stability. In the first part of the talk, I will present our predictions for wrapping soft particles at membranes and membrane-mediated interactions between partial-wrapped soft particles. For shallow-wrapped prolates, we find repulsion in side-by-side orientation and attraction in tip-to-tip orientation [1]. In the second part of the talk, I will discuss our simulation results on active particles confined in vesicles, which we also refer to as ‘active vesicles’. We observe shapes and trajectories resembling those of motile cells [2,3].
Vesicles often serve as a generic model system in biophysics. The membranes are modeled as mathematical surfaces whose elastic properties are described by the Helfrich Hamiltonian. In our equilibrium system, we study the interaction of two non-spherical vesicles with various sizes, shapes, and elastic properties at planar lipid-bilayer membranes. Using triangulated membranes and energy minimization, we predict the interplay of vesicle shapes and wrapping states. Increasing particle softness stabilizes partial-wrapped states. Furthermore, we calculate membrane-mediated interactions between two partial-wrapped vesicles. Our predictions may guide the design and fabrication of deformable particles for efficient use in diagnostics and therapeutics. In our non-equilibrium system, we study the self-organization of self-propelled filaments in vesicles and the resulting vesicle shapes and dynamics. Using 2D Brownian dynamics simulations, we find shapes that resemble those of keratocytes and neutrophils observed in microscopy. The trajectories of the active vesicles also remind us of trajectories of motile cells, both on homogeneous and on micropatterned substrates. Therefore, our active-matter model may help us to rationalize behavior of motile cells.
[1] J. Midya, T. Auth, and G. Gompper, ACS Nano 17, 1935 (2023)
[2] C. Abaurrea-Velasco, T. Auth, and G. Gompper, New J. Phys 21, 123024 (2019)
[3] H. Vutukuri et al., Nature 586, 52 (2020)













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