Lisa Fauci, Ph.D. Pendergraft Nola Lee Haynes Professor of Mathematics, Tulane University
Topic: Hydrodynamically-coupled oscillators in biofluids.
Abstract: Respiratory cilia that transport mucus in the lungs, spermatozoa that collectively move through the female reproductive tract, paddling appendages that propel a crawfish, and fish swimming in a school are all examples of oscillators that exert force on a surrounding fluid. Do the synchronous or phase-shifted periodic motions that we observe arise due to hydrodynamic coupling? We will discuss experiments and models of the self-organized pattern of beating flagella and cilia — from minimal models of colloidal particles driven by optical traps to more detailed models that include dynamics of the molecular motors driving the motion. We will also consider internal coupled oscillators that model neural signaling in a model of an undulatory swimmer with sensory feedback and examine the emergent swimming behavior of the coupled fluid-neural-muscle-body system. A long-term goal of this research is to investigate the relation of spinal chord injuries to movement in a very simple system