Liverpool Centre for Mathematics in Healthcare

24th October 2018 - Seminar - Biophysics of helices: microbots, bacteria and phage viruses - Dr Panayiota Katsamba (University of Birmingham)

Time: 13:00-14:00

Venue: MATH-105, First Floor, Department of Mathematical Science Building

Abstract: A prevalent morphology in the microscopic world of artificial microbots, bacteria and viruses is that of a helix. The intriguingly different physics at play at the small scale level make it necessary for bacteria to employ swimming strategies different from our everyday experience, such as the rotation of a helical filament. Bio-inspired microswimmers that mimic bacterial locomotion achieve propulsion at the microscale level using magnetically actuated, rotating helical filaments, and have promising applications in non-invasive medicine, for example drug delivery to tumours or microsurgery. The first part of my talk will address the control and adaptivity features in the application-driven design of biomedical microbots. In the second part of the talk I will turn to the sub-bacterial scale of bacteriophage viruses, ‘phages’ for short, that infect bacteria. Given the rise in antibiotics resistance, phages can offer valuable insight in our fight against pathogenic bacteria and phage therapy is a possible alternative to antibiotics. I will share our latest findings on a surprising infection strategy by which some phages manage to `ride' along the propulsive machinery of bacteria and infect them.

In conjunction with the Mathematical Biology Research Group