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DEPARTMENT COLLOQUIUM | Fluctuations and Dynamic Arrest in Cells: The Glass Transition in Cells

Wednesday, January 19, 2011
5:00 AM
340 West Hall

Speaker: David Weitz (Harvard University)

Motion of cells, and within cells, often entails fluctuations that have a strongly Brownian character. However, these motions are driven by the molecular motors within the cells, rather than by thermal motion. This talk will describe the analysis of this motion to elucidate the nature of the fluctuations. I will also describe the fluctuating motion of collections of cells themselves, and will show how it is very strongly influenced by the stiffness of the substrate on which the cells are grown. In addition, I will show that the collective motion of cells has a surprising analogy to a glass transition, where the motion of the cells becomes arrested as the concentration increases.