What do hacked connected cars have in common with biophysics and soft matter? Active and emergent phenomena! In a collaboration with Jesse Silverberg of Multiscale Systems, Inc., we find that the consequences of a large scale hack of connected cars could be dire – but are predicted through an extension of percolation theory! Paper here, and summary in Physics here.
In our previous paper on the evolution of multicellularity, we showed that mechanical stresses develop during growth, eventually fracture clusters of cells into two pieces. Now we ask: when faced with this mechanical challenge, what is the best way to evolve large size? In our new paper, selected as a Rapid Communication in PRE, we show increasing bond strength does little, but modify how cells pack does a lot!
Our new paper in PRL investigates an effective fluctuation response relationship in biofilms featuring death and reproduction. The fluctuation-dissipation theorem, derived by Harry Nyquist in the 1920’s, is essential to our understanding of equilibrium solids. The relationship between thermal fluctuations and mechanical responses provided a framework through which mechanical properties of solids were measurable and predictable. Our paper. The same may be possible for living films; we investigated it in collaboration with the Hammer lab, here at Georgia Tech’s School of Biological Sciences. Our work builds on a beautiful paper from Risler, Peilloux, and Proust, which investigated a model of apoptosis and reproduction in tissues.
Our new preprint investigates how coffee-ring-effect produces gradients in cell-density when a drop of liquid culture is dried. These initial conditions have a large impact on the subsequent competition between strains, and can even switch which strain wins. Thus, the coffee-ring effect may ultimately impact evolutionary outcomes.
Dhaivat Mehta was one of the grand award winners at this year’s Georgia Science & Engineering Fair! He has been working with us on his project “Modeling T6ss-Mediated Killing in Microbial Colonies.”
Check out our paper on a different form of active matter, whose activity is not due to mobility, but to death and reproduction! Published this week in Nature Communications, this interdisciplinary paper brought together classic physics, microbiology, ecology and more!
Cornelia Rosu, then of Paul Russo’s lab in the Georgia Tech Department of Materials Science and Engineering, led an investigation of domed microcylinders in cholesteric liquid crystals.