Joint Pitt-CMU Colloquium: Andrew Mugler (University of Pittsburgh)

September 7, 2020 - 4:00pm

Statistical Physics of Bacteria and Cancer Cells

Cells are complex, yet constrained by physical laws. Consequently, approaches from physics can give important insights into cell behavior.

I will present a statistical-physics view of two fascinating systems from cell biology: bacterial communities that use long-range electrical signaling to prevent starvation, and cancer cells that hijack the body's fluid flow to migrate and metastasize. I will show that bacterial signaling is fundamentally constrained by scaling laws from percolation theory, and that cancer cell migration is fundamentally constrained by the physics of diffusion and laminar flow. These works demonstrate that physical laws place fundamental limits on biological behavior, and suggest that cells have evolved to approach these physical limits.

Location and Address

Zoom ID: 947 6918 163
Department Members, see email for access information/password.