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Dynamicalaspects of Cytoskeletal motility and associated studies in critical phenomena


We propose a theoretical study of dynamical aspects of molecular cell biology using techniques available from statistical physics, nonlinear dynamics and numerical simulation. As a complementary focus, we suggest independent studies on the dynamical critic al phenomena of stochastic systems.

The objective is to develop appropriate theoretical techniques using standard models in a statistical physics framework, eg. dynamically growing interfaces, granular systems, etc. and then to utilise these well tested techniques on the target biological systems. Our major motivation is to study the dynamical properties of cytoskeletons, the filamentous protein network found in the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells.

The focus problems will be the dynamics of cilia and flagella , the hair like cellular appendages driven by molecular motors and the dynamics of cytoskeletal fibres during the non-equilibrium polymerisation of protofilaments and mitotic cell division. The flagellar dynamics has two-fold significance, that concerning the reproductive process through the fertilisation of an ovum by a sperm and the other concerning the hearing mechanism.

Both processes are powered by molecular motors and are generally believed to be self-organising in nature. Utilising these fundamental symmetry principles and standard techniques from statistical and nonlinear physics, our goal is to develop a generalised theory which is able to reproduce the detailed dynamics by taking into account all relevant deterministic and stochastic contributions concerning flagellar motion.

A closely related interest will be a study of the lung ventilation technique, a medical method to measure the lung volume of patients suffering from lung diseases. All theoretical predictions will frequently be cross-checked against experimental results available from leading laboratories.

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