Living active materials

Biological processes rely on the integrated activity of individual microscopic “self-propelled” agents whose activity contributes to emergent collective behaviors. The development of in vitro systems is essential to understand how complex behaviors emerge from agent interactions.

Cilia and cytoskeletal polymers derived from protists make great candidates as building blocks of new active materials. We are developing in vitro systems to probe the mechanisms underlying the emergence of macroscopic patterns of cilia and cytoskeletal networks. Studying these systems will be central to construct new materials that capture the fuctionalities seen in living organisms.