Chemotaxis – from Basic Physics to Biology

International Workshop
13 - 17 May 2024

Taking a closer look at natural survival skills of most living creatures on earth, from bacteria to humans, one of the common traits is migration to search for food. Understanding the behaviour of such microsystems requires a multidisciplinary approach, with biology, physics and chemistry being closely interlinked.

This workshop focuses on biological and artificial systems migrating in diffusion-based gradients: Bacteria use chemical gradients to determine the location of food sources. The motility mechanisms they employ rely on a temporal samplingmechanism to determine the direction of the gradient. However, the mechanisms used by eukaryotes and multicellular organisms are much less understood.  Due to the large variety of eukaryotic cells, the mechanisms can differ strongly.

This workshop aims at exploring common traits among these different organisms and compare them to artificial systems in order to understand physical influences such as flow and phoretic forces.

Given the important role chemotaxis plays in many large-scale biological processes, such as wound healing, neuronal patterning, fertilization, embryonal development and cancer metastasis, we aim at bringing all these different studies together, and investigate the physical groundwork.

Specific questions that will arise from the discussions and interdisciplinary exposure:

  • Common traits / differences between the different actors
  • Physical basics that underlay all biological systems equally
  • Where can artificial systems help the understanding
  • The underlying mechanisms for each system and their relationship to information theory

Topics include

  • Chemotaxis of algae
  • Chemotaxis of eukaryots
  • Chemotaxis of prokaryots
  • Chemotaxis of artificial systems
  • Modelling of behaviour in gradients
  • Tactic behaviours in a broader sense

Invited speakers

*to be confirmed

Judith Armitage
Giuseppe Battaglia
Thierry Emonet
Robert Endres
Benjamin Friedrich
Ramin Golestanian
Nir Gov*
Richa Karmakar
Nana Kinoshita-Terauchia*
Christina Kurzthaler
Hans Othmer
Ignacio Pagonabarraga
Kevin Painter
Mihail Popescu
Wouter-Jan Rappel
Kirsty Wan

Scientific Coordinators

Robert Insall
(University of Glasgow, UK)

Juliane Simmchen
(Technical University Dresden, Germany)


Katrin Lantsch

(Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems Dresden, Germany)


Application for workshop participation will open approx. 4-5 months prior to the event.


Scientific Program

The scientific program of the workshop will be available by mid April 2024, approximately.


How to reach us


Useful information for your way to the venue.

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