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Physics Day : Physics of Living Systems

Friday, 20th September 2019 at Centre for Complexity Science, Zeeman Building, University of Warwick (D1.07)

Organisers: Sami Al-Izzi (Warwick), Prof Matthew Turner (Warwick)

The tools of soft matter physics have long been used to provide insight into cell biology, and have been incredibly successful at describing many phenomenological features, such as the shape of red blood cells and defect formation in epithelia. However, as experimental techniques become more precise and quantitative the need to extend such theories has become apparent. Biological systems are inherently out of equilibrium, and have been shown to break the fluctuation dissipation theorem due to their “active” consumption of energy. They are also highly molecule specific and the details of chemical reactions underlying the regulation of mechanical processes can be very important in trying to understand the dynamics of these systems. As such, new “active” and mechano-chemical theories of living matter are required in order to explain phenomena. Such theories are not only useful as models for biological processes, but have been shown to display interesting new physics in their own right. The aim of this meeting is to bring together a wide range of researchers to address contemporary questions on the physics of living systems, with a focus on the interplay between theory and experiment.


10.30-11.00 - Arrival & Coffee

Session 1

11.00 - Vasily Kantsler (Warwick) - Motility control on the microscale: from single cell to population level

11.40 - Halim Kusumaatmaja (Durham) - Inferring the surface tension of stress granules from their shape fluctuations

12.20-13.15 - Lunch & Posters

Session 2

13.15 - Ana-Suncana Smith (FAU Erlangen-Nurnberg) - Physical effects catalysing cell adhesion

13.55 - Robert Cross (Warwick) - Interlocking nanomechanics of kinesin and microtubles

14.35 - Jacques Prost (Institut Curie) - A few bets from molecular scales to tissue scale: from emergence and resurgence in elementary contractile unit to electric field induced proliferation and lumen formation

15.15-15.40 - Coffee & Posters

Session 3

15.40 - Pierre Sens (Institut Curie) - The scallop theorem and physical models for cell motility

16.20 - Corinne Smith (Warwick) - Assembly and structure of multiple clathrin cage geometries revealed by 3D cryo-electron microscopy

17.00-17.10 - Closing remarks

This event is supported financially by Department of Physics: Physics Day fund and The Physics of Life Network (

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