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Dresden 2020 – wissenschaftliches Programm

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DY: Fachverband Dynamik und Statistische Physik

DY 42: Fluid Physics of Life (joint session DY/BP)

DY 42.1: Hauptvortrag

Mittwoch, 18. März 2020, 15:00–15:30, ZEU 160

Light-regulated microbial dynamics and self-organization in complex geometries — •Oliver Bäumchen — Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization (MPIDS), Am Fassberg 17, D-37077 Göttingen, Germany

Life on Earth has evolved under the periodic exposure to sunlight and many microorganisms are equipped with a photosynthesis machinery enabling them to convert light into chemical energy. Their habitats include liquid-infused soil, porous rocks and microdroplets, featuring complex geometric architectures that induce strong spatial and temporal light fluctuations. Thus, biological functionalities to sense and rapidly respond to light fluctuations are pivotal for microbial life.

In this presentation I will discuss how concepts from non-equilibrium statistical physics, in conjunction with novel experimental approaches from soft matter and biophysics [1], enable us to decipher fundamental physical principles of microbial responses to light cues. We discovered that light regulates the transition of motile microbes from the free-swimming to the surface-adhered state [2]. I will further elaborate on how interfacial interactions govern the motility and navigation of individual cells in complex geometries [3] and demonstrate that the light-regulated motility controls the emergence of self-organization and phase separation of microbial populations in confinement.

[1] M. Backholm & O. Bäumchen, Nature Protocols 14, 594 (2019).

[2] C. Kreis et al., Nature Physics 14, 45 (2018).

[3] T. Ostapenko et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 068002 (2018).

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