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This is life: some thoughts on self-organized structure formation in active liquids and biological systems

It has been a long-standing mystery how complex biological structures emerge from such seemingly uncoordinated building blocks as cells and tissues, in the presence of only minimal environmental guidance.

L.A. Hoffmann
29 June 2023
Thesis in Leiden Repository

In particular, unifying descriptions independent of microscopic details of a specific organism are rare. In recent years, hydrodynamics has successfully been applied to describe certain types living systems. The thesis is concerned with understanding different aspects of structure formation in active liquids and biological systems. In the first chapter we investigate the coarsening dynamics in the Toner-Tu theory and compare it with an experimental colloidal system. Afterwards, we investigate the effect of chirality in active nematics, with applications to biological tissues. In the last part we derive and study a model to explain geometric deformations due to the presence of activity. The resulting dynamics might be able to explain morphogenetic processes.

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