University of Cambridge > > Engineering - Mechanics Colloquia Research Seminars > Mechanical study of the C. elegans worm locomotion. From soft matter to biomimetics.

Mechanical study of the C. elegans worm locomotion. From soft matter to biomimetics.

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Anna Walczyk.

Soft matter has been defined as a state of matter with a high susceptibility: small fields can induce large and macroscopic transformations. But softness also is a property of materials which we commonly test using our sense of touch. We started a few years ago a long term research program to understand how the response of touch receptors is affected by properties such as roughness, rigidity, viscosity, etc. More precisely, we use a model organism (C. elegans) and study how its locomotion is affected by its mechanical environment. C. elegans is a nematode of about 1 mm in length which can crawl on moist gels and swims in bulk liquids. We will present in this talk a new mechanical model to describe the friction of worms on gels and a series of original experiments to modulate the locomotion of the worm and investigate the regulation of the gaits. Finally, going back to soft matter physics, we will introduce new artificial magnetic swimmers made out of polymer to mimic worm deformations and locomotion.

This talk is part of the Engineering - Mechanics Colloquia Research Seminars series.

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