Physics Talk Looks at Pattern Formation and Collective Phenomena in Biological Systems

Erwin Frey of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München will speak on “Pattern Formation and Collective Phenomena in Biological Systems” at a physics colloquium on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 4 p.m. in 124 Hasbrouck Lab.

Reaction-diffusion dynamics endows cells with the capacity for accurate positioning, control of length, and timing of processes. The Min protein system in E. coli employs oscillating patterns to ensure precise cell division by its ability to dynamically adapt to cell geometry. The length of biopolymers is regulated by the interplay between polymerization kinetics and patterns of molecular motors. Under which conditions protein patterns emerge, and how these patterns are regulated by biochemical and geometrical factors are major aspects of current research. Frey will discuss general design principles of such cellular pattern forming systems.