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Active and Smart Matter: A New Frontier for Science and Engineering (7815)

June 20, 2016 – June 23, 2016

Location: Syracuse, New York, USA



Jennifer Schwarz, Syracuse University
M. Cristina Marchetti, Syracuse University
J. H. Henderson, Syracuse University
Joseph Paulsen, Syracuse University
Ashok Sangani, Syracuse University

Registration Form (Deadline: March 30, 2016)


This workshop will focus on the merging of physics and biology via the active matter framework as well as other recent developments in chemical and engineering systems. Specifically, we will address such questions as:

How to quantify the mechanical forces and the collective motion of cells in tissues?
As new techniques emerge to track cells within tissues and measure their forces, there is a need for quantitative modeling to ultimately understand how cells sort to form an organism or how cancer progresses as cancer cells emerge from a tumor. The proposed workshop would bring together both experimentalists and theorists and biologists and physicists to discuss the most promising approaches to address this question.

How does one begin to build an in vitro cell?
Recent experiments of an in vitro actomyosin cortex encapsulated by a cell-sized liposome reveal how the actomyosin cortex drives cell shape change. Active nematics enclosed within a lipid vesicle provide another route to synthesizing a cell-like object. Moreover, recent observations of largescale correlated motion of chromatin inside the nuclei of live differentiated cells also call for quantitative modeling to better understand how chromatin can be viewed as an active gel to potentially uncover collective effects in DNA transcription. This workshop provides a platform to address such challenges.

What purely physical interactions lead to observed patterns in systems that have “communication abilities”?
When a dilute collection of millions of colloidal rollers (robots) and other synthetic but active constituents, self-organize to achieve coherent motion, one concludes that purely physical interactions are sufficient to lead to such behavior.

How does this motion differ from coherent collective motion in living systems where the constituents can communicate via other means?
Bringing together scientists exploring the synthetic and biological systems will help answer these questions.

And how can active matter help drive self-assembly to ultimately build self-replicating objects?
Theoretical studies of chemically active colloids that self-assemble into structures possessing dynamic functionality may provide a means to realize a self-replicating systems, one of the hallmarks of biology. To be able to do this in synthetic systems at some reasonable scale could potentially help us understand the origins of biological matter.


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