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Mardi 5 février 2019 - 14:00

Simple elasticity problems inspired by biology

Serge Dmitrieff (Institut Jacques Monod)

par Revaz Ramazashvili - 5 février 2019

Biological cells are physical elements under internal and external mechanical constraints. For instance, cells need to oppose exterior stress to maintain their shapes, and overcome large internal drag forces to transport cargo. I will discuss the role of semi-flexible polymers called microtubules in these processes.

We will see that we can use simple physical notions from elasticity to address these problems : the maintenance of the shape of blood cells can be understood as the buckling of a visco-elastic bundle in confinement, while some examples of intracellular transport to the cell center appears akin to Newton’s first theorem, albeit with elastic forces. Even minimal formulations of these problems are deceptively simple, and yield interesting new physics, such as the metastability of disc-like cells, and unexpected scaling laws for centering forces.

Post-scriptum :

contact : N. Destainville, M. Manghi