Molecules and Cells
Over the last few decades, structural biologists have delivered a treasure-trove of data on the shapes and sizes of large biomacromolecules and their assemblies. When this information is combined with aspects of their kinetics, we can begin to ask questions about how structure impacts function dynamically at both the level of the individual molecule and in polymeric filaments, networks and larger assemblies.
We are particularly interested in the statistical and continuum mechanics of macromolecular assemblies such as disordered cytoskeletal-like networks of actin and crosslinkers, ordered assemblies such as microtubules, actin bundles, DNA-loops etc. in the context of questions such as the linear and nonlinear rheology of these “living” materials”, the kinetics of growth and shrinkage, and the mechanochemistry of active biological engines driven by growth, shrinkage and spring-like behavior. Recently, we have also become interested in how we might control the formation and dissolution of protein and liquid aggregates in the context of amyloid diseases, liquid-liquid phase separation, bringing in ideas from deterministic, stochastic, feedback and feedforward control theory to study these questions.
At the cellular level, we have explored the statistical and continuum dynamics of the immunological synapse patterns, scaling theories for cell spreading, the biophysics of cell blebbing, dynamics of cellular sensing, decision-making and movement, and the large scale motion of cells in multi-cellular tissues.
T. Herrero-Ruiz, T. Fai, L. Mahadevan, Physical Review Letters 123, 038102, 2019. [DOI] [View PDF] [Download PDF]
A. Carlson, L. Mahadevan, PLoS Comput Biol 11(12): e1004481, 2015. [View PDF] [Download PDF]