"Active mechanics keeps our cells alive.", Friday, February 5, 2:00pm, MH 606


Wylie Ahmed, Institut Curie (France)

ABSTRACT: Unlike traditional materials, living cells actively generate forces at the molecular scale that change their overall structure and mechanical properties. This nonequilibrium activity is essential for cellular function, and drives processes such as division, migration, and organization. In the first part of this talk, I will discuss how cells throughout the body (e.g. muscle, heart, tissue, and brain) must act as active mechanical systems to keep us alive. In the second part, I will discuss recent advances that allow quantification of nonequilibrium activity in living cells that provide insight on the molecular-scale driving forces. An understanding of active mechanics in living cells will uncover the basic physical principles driving biological processes and inspire new advances in nonequilibrium physics and materials science.