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Our group offers a variety of topics for Bachelor and Master theses at the interface of physics and biology. Both students from physics and biology are welcome to apply at any time. Currently open topics include
Intracellular actin dynamics. Wave patterns in the actin cortex of motile cells exhibit many features that are well-known from excitable systems. In particular, we have observed spiral wave patterns that undergo irregular breakups and transition scenarios. In this project, we will analyze the dynamics of such wave patterns based on concepts that have been established in the context of defect-mediated turbulence, including the dynamics of phase singularities.
Cell shape tracking and pseudopod statistics. Much of our previous understanding of cell motion data is centered on random walk models to describe the center of mass movement of cells. However, the relation to pseudopod dynamics and the evolution of cell shape has only recently moved into the focus of research. Here, we will analyze the statistics of cell shape changes with a particular emphasis on characterizing different temporal regimes and cell-to-cell variability.
Motility under confinement. When entering a mechanically confined environment, motile amoeboid cell may spontaneously polarize. In this project, we will explore the underlying cytoskeletal mechanisms and signaling events that lead to this mechanically induced intracellular symmetry breaking. A combination of microfluidic techniques and comfocal fluorescence microscopy will allow us to systematically probe the impact of the environmental geometry on confinement-induced polar movement.
For further topics and more detailed information please contact Carsten Beta.