Understanding the fluid dynamics of swimming microorganisms: successes and challenges

Dr. Karen A. Ames Lecture Series on Applied Mathematics

Dr. Lisa Fauci

Department of Mathematics
Center for Computational Sciences
Tulane University

3:00 Friday, 16 April 2010

218 Shelby Center
Refreshments at 2:30


Microorganisms such as bacteria and spermatozoa move in a world where viscous forces completely dominate inertial forces, and the time evolution of their motion may be thought of as a sequence of steady state snapshots. In this world, what motility strategies give rise to efficient locomotion? The study of the fluid dynamics of microorganism motility began with the classic work of G.I. Taylor in 1951, and has been an active area of research in the last decades. Current modeling challenges include the collective dynamics of microorganisms and their interactions with surrounding physical and chemical environments, coupling of their internal force-generating mechanisms with external fluid dynamics, as well as their motion through visco-elastic fluids. We will present recent work that sheds light on these complex systems.

colloq FauciBiographical Sketch

Dr. Lisa Fauci was educated in the New York City public school system, received her B.S. at Pace University, and later her Ph.D. in Mathematics at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, NYU in 1986. She joined the faculty of Tulane University in New Orleans the same year. She was the founding Director of the Center for Computational Science at Tulane in 2001, currently serves as an Associate Director, and is the Nola Lee Haynes Pendergraft Professor of Mathematics. She has held visiting positions at New York University and the University of Utah, and has lectured throughout the world. Her research lies at the interface of mathematics, scientific computing and biology.