Squishy Physics

Next seminar: Wednesday August 14th 2019 in Pierce Hall 209 at 6:00 PM

Non-equilibrium physics of the cytoskeleton and metabolism

Daniel Needleman

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

Harvard University

Abstract: Living systems are out of equilibrium and nearly all cellular processes require a continual supply of energy. The realization of the importance of non-equilibrium processes for subcellular organization helped to inspire the field of active matter, which seeks to understand the behaviors of system in which energy is input at the microscale. Despite intensive work on the dynamics and mechanics of active matter, there is very little known about the thermodynamic flows in these systems which are ultimately responsible for their non-equilibrium nature. Such thermodynamic flows are also extremely important (and extremely poorly understood) in biological systems, because the breakdown of metabolic processes responsible for energy transduction has diverse cellular and developmental consequences, and underlies a variety of diseases. In this talk, I will describe quantitative experiments on: 1) the non-equilibrium thermodynamics of mixtures of microtubules and molecular motors; 2) the metabolism of mammalian oocytes.


Squishy Physics & Pizza Seminar Series

When: Wednesday Evenings - Pizza served at 5:55 PM, talks start at 6 pm till...

Where: Room 209, Pierce Hall, 29 Oxford St, on the Harvard Campus. Directions and parking instructions are here.

What: These talks are informal, with emphasis on new results and ideas, rather than polished presentations. The Squishy audience members typically include soft matter scientists, physicists, engineers, chemists, and biologists.  The goal is to stimulate discussion with the audience.  Talks are typically about 45 minutes long, with lots of questions along the way.

Pizza: Only the finest! 

How to join the weekly Squishy Physics mailing list: please visit the Signup Page.

Directions: Where: Squishy Physics talks are held in Pierce Hall room 301, 29 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA. See Harvard Campus map here.

Parking: Metered parking is available on Oxford Street.  Speakers, please contact Matthew Zahnzinger to obtain a parking permit.  

Squishy Physics is sponsored by the Cabot Corporation, Dean Cherry Murray and the Weitz Research Group.

If you have comments or suggestions or would like to give a talk, please contact Joerg Werner, Stefano Aime, or Perry Ellis.

Here is the upcoming schedule