Colloquium on November 8, 2010

Raymond Goldstein
Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge

Microfluidics of Cytoplasmic Streaming

First described by Bonaventura Corti in 1774, cytoplasmic streaming, the persistent circulation of the fluid contents of large eukaryotic cells, is now known to arise from the entrainment of fluid by multitudes of molecular motors.  Yet, its role in physiology is still rather mysterious.  Is it simply a transport mechanism? Does it play a role in homeostasis?  What kinds of self-organization are responsible for its highly regular flow geometries?  In this talk I will outline recent theoretical and experimental work aimed at answering some of these questions, and suggest that there are interesting parallels to be found between phenomena in streaming and in the collective behaviour of motile organisms.