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Thursday, October 1 2020
11:00am - 11:59am
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Extreme Collectives: Why Single Cells Squish and Worms Blob

Saad Bhamla, Ph.D.
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Georgia Instutute of Technology

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In this talk I will share two stories about how interesting dynamics emerge when living systems aggregate and form a collective. The first story revolves around gigantic single cells protists (~5mm in length) that can contract their bodies rapidly (<5ms). I will describe our discovery of how these cells harness these ultrafast contractions to send ‘hydrodynamic trigger waves’ for communicating over long distances in cellular communities. The second story is about aquatic worm blobs that knot with their neighbours to form living entangled masses or blobs. I will describe how these soft squishy three dimensional blobs can rapidly morph their shape, move across terrains, and even solve mazes.

Host: David Hu, Ph.D.

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