School of Physics Colloquium

Michael Shelley (Flatiron Institute)

Speaker: Michael Shelley (Flatiron Institute)

Host: Dan Goldman

Title: Active structures and flows in living cells

Abstract: Flows in the fluidic interior of living cells can serve function, and by their structure shed light on how forces are exerted within the cell. Some of these flows can arise through novel collective instabilities of the cytoskeleton, that set of polymers, cross-linkers, and molecular motors that underlie much of the mechanics within and between cells. I'll discuss experiments, mathematical modeling and analysis, and simulations of two such cases. One is understanding the emergence of cell-spanning vortical flows in developing egg cells, while the other arises from studying the nature of force transduction in the dynamics of microtubule arrays inside of synthetic cells. Both show the importance of polymer density in determining dynamics and time-scales, and have required the development of new coarse-grained models and simulation methods.

Bio: Dr. Michael J. Shelley is an applied mathematician who works on the modeling and simulation of complex systems arising in physics and biology. This has included, of late, modeling the dynamics of complex and active fluids, and examining transport and self-organization processes in cellular biophysics. He is co-founder and co-director of the Courant Institute's Applied Mathematics Lab at New York University, and is the Director of the Center for Computational Biology at the Flatiron Institute. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Event Details


  • Date: 
    Monday, September 18, 2023 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm

Marcus Nanotechnology Bldg. Room: 1116-1118