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Phase transitions in bacterial populations: what tiny cells can teach us about the physics of active matter

Josh Shaevitz, Princeton
Monday, May 4, 2015 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
PAA A-102
The soil dwelling bacterium Myxococcus xanthus is an amazing organism that uses collective motility to hunt in giant packs when near prey and to form beautiful and protective macroscopic structures comprising millions of cells when food is scarce. I will present an overview of how these cells move and how they regulate that motion to produce different phases of collective behavior. By analogy to the physics of active materials, I will discuss experiments that reveal how these cells have overcome a variety of difficulties related to the aggregation of dynamic individuals.​
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