Statistical and Biological Physics

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Active transport by molecular motors along a filament is a vital process in cells. The motion of single motors has been studied in great detail and it has been shown that different species of motors often exhibit distinct stepping modes. For all super families of molecular motors (kinesins, dynein, and myosin) helical pathways with different pitches are probably the rule rather than the exception. But while their individual behavior is known in great detail, understanding their collective properties remains challenging. more

Intracellular positioning of proteins is important for several vital processes in bacterial cells, including cell division. Bacterial cells generally divide symmetrically by forming a contractile ring, which is progressively constricted to form two daughter cells of equal size. An important question to address is how a bacterial cell can identify mid-cell to divide there. In our work we have developed a mathematical model that explains how the plane of division is specified in the rod-shaped bacterium Myxococcus xanthus. more