Student Talk Series: Matt Mizuhara ’12, March 24th @ 12 noon in Olin 268


Title: Mathematical biology under the microscope:  A study of cell motility

Abstract: Although physics and chemistry have long relied on mathematics as a descriptive and exploratory tool, biological systems were historically seen as too complex to be understood theoretically. However, advances in mathematics and computational capabilities now allow for the quantification of biological problems in a field called mathematical biology.
In this talk I will introduce a modern topic of mathematical biology: crawling cell motility. Cell motion plays a central role in wound healing and the immune response, e.g., to fight foreign bodies. We will present a partial differential equation model for cell motion proposed by Ziebert et al. (2011). The subsequent analytical and numerical studies give rise to surprising mathematical results as well as novel insights for biologists, including applications to directed cell motility and sorting. This talk will not require any prerequisite knowledge of partial differential equations or biology, though a calculus background will be helpful.