Smitha Maretvadakethope

Smitha Maretvadakethope

I’m a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Liverpool, focusing on the intersection between mathematical biology and fluid dynamics. I currently study the behaviour of microorganisms which swim, like bacteria and microalgae. There are numerous swimming styles that microorganisms have developed to get through fluids which they perceive to be extremely viscous. So far, my research has focused on the synchronisation and dynamics of flagella and cilia, and the behaviours exhibited by suspensions of swimmers in pressure-driven channels (especially at walls).

My first real appreciation of maths started when I was little, and my mum sat me down over the summer holidays to learn the basics of multiplication. Like any child, I initially thought it had to be the most boring thing in the world staring at a piece of paper, but eventually the patterns started to reveal themselves, and I was giddy with excitement. The numbers became more than a puzzle. They were a strange adventure, and the longer I observed them, the more delightful secrets they would spill. As I grew up, I started to understand that beyond its own secrets, maths can pry out secrets from other aspects of the world. Driven by curiosity, I decided to pursue an undergraduate in mathematics. This eventually led to an MSc in Applied Mathematics, an MRes in Fluid dynamics, and a PhD in mathematics at Imperial College London.

These days I allow my curiosity to guide me as I try to understand the world of microswimmers through my research.