Topology in Biology?

Julia Yeomans, University of Oxford

Monday September 9 2019

Julia Yeomans is a professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, UK, and a leading expert in research on active systems. Research in her group addresses a variety of problems in soft matter and biological physics using theoretical and computational tools from statistical mechanics and hydrodynamics. Specific topics include the dynamics of soft-matter, collective behaviour of active systems, mechanobiology, motility at low Reynolds number, and the interactions of fluids with structured surfaces.

On September 9 2019, Prof. Julia Yeomans delivered a plenary lecture at the conference “Molecular and materials simulation at the turn of the decade: Celebrating 50 years of CECAM”. We are pleased to present the video of the lecture and renew the opportunity to learn and share exciting science.

Topology in BIOLOGY?

Active materials, such as bacteria, molecular motors and self-propelled colloids continuously transform chemical energy from their environment to mechanical work. Dense active matter shows mesoscale turbulence, the emergence of chaotic flow structures characterised by high vorticity and self-propelled topological defects I shall describe how the ideas of active matter are suggesting new ways of interpreting cell motility and cell division. In particular recent results indicate that active topological defects may help to regulate turnover in epithelial cell layers and contribute to controlling the structure of bacterial colonies.