Speaker: Lisa Fauci, Ph. D
Pendergraft Nola Lee Haynes Professor, Tulane University
School of Science & Engineering
Title: Insights from biofluidmechanics: A tale of two tails
I will present recent work on two very different systems at very different scales, both involving fluid flow driven by undulatory motion. The first is a class of microorganisms, choanoflagellates, that are important predators on bacteria in aquatic ecosystems. A unicellular choanoflagellate waves a flagellum to swim and to create a water current transporting bacterial prey to a food-capturing collar of microvilli. While load-carrying effects on high Reynolds number flight have been studied, the fluid dynamics of load-carrying by microorganisms has received less attention. I will discuss coordinated laboratory experiments and simulations that investigate the swimming and feeding performance of choanoflagellates carrying bacterial prey. The second model organism I will discuss is the lamprey. Using a closed-loop model that couples neural signaling, muscle mechanics, fluid dynamics and sensory feedback, we examine the hypothesis that amplified proprioceptive feedback could restore effective locomotion in lampreys with spinal injuries.