Wed, 17/05/2017 - 14:00
Campus Saarbr├╝cken, Geb. E2 6, E04

Dr. Karen Alim
Host: Prof. Dr. Ludger Santen
Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, G├Âttingen

Physical forces shaping morphology

Forces arising due to mechanics and fluid flows can induce long-ranged interactions and thus propagate information on large scales. Especially during the development of an organism, coordination on large scales in short time is essential. My aim is to discover the principal mechanisms of how these physical forces induce, transmit and respond to biological signals and thus orchestrate patterning and morphing of an organism.

The role of fluid flows in patterning and morphing is particularly prominent during the growth and adaptation of transport networks like vascular networks. Here, the network-forming slime mold Physarum polycephalum emerged as a new model to study the complex dynamics of transport networks. Investigating the pivotal role of fluid flows in this live transport network I find that flows are patterned in a peristaltic wave across the network thereby optimizing transport. In fact, flows are hijacked by signals to propagate throughout the network promoting their own transport by invoking a propagating front of increased flow. These simple non-linear dynamics are sufficient to explain surprisingly complex dynamics of the organism like finding the shortest path through a maze.

Turning to vascular networks of plants and animals I investigate the requirements on the network to provide uniform supply of metabolites to surrounding tissues. Solving for metabolite absorption dynamics I identify the fluid inflow rate as the most important factor. Theoretically uncovered rescue responses to counteract sub-optimal inflow match observations of network adaptation in plant and animal vasculature.

Fluid flows through tubular networks or porous media are at the heart of many technological applications in medicine but also chemical and energy industry giving my theoretical findings inspired by nature widespread implications.

Upcoming Events

  • IRTG Intro Lecture

    Tue, 08/02/2022 - 14:15

    Prof. Dr. Robert Ernst


  • IRTG Workshop

    Wed, 23/03/2022 - 09:00 to Fri, 25/03/2022 - 15:30

    Dr. Jan Brocher

    BioVoxxel Workshop: Editing, Processing and Analysis of Scientific Image













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