Active Materials in Biological Cells
102 Cardwell Hall
Cells are more than just a solution of proteins - they contain materials that have mechanical integrity and provide structural support, much like the skeleton of a mammal. These materials are active: unlike conventional materials, they move and deform even when no forces are applied to them. The talk will show examples of active biological materials based on the protein actin at molecular-scale resolution, describe how they deform and generate force, and examine how they can generate wavelike motions in cells that may help them explore their environment.
Anders Carlsson has been in the Washington University Physics Department since 1983. After receiving his Ph. D. in Physics from Harvard and performing postdoctoral work at Cornell University, he performed research in several areas of condensed matter theory, including the properties of quasicrystals and brittle vs. ductile behavior of materials. His recent research has been in biological physics and mechanobiology. He is currently working on understanding the function and control of the protein actin in biological cells, which is crucial for cell shape changes and migration. He was Jubilee Professor at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg in 2001, spent the fall of 2008 as a visitor at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden, and organized the program "Generation and Control of Forces" at NORDITA, Stockholm in 2018.