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Applied Mathematics Seminar
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Lisa Fauci
Mathematics Department, Tulane University

Fluid dynamic models of spirochete motility

Wednesday 20th August 14:05-14:55pm, Eastern Avenue Lecture Theatre.

Spirochetes are a group of helically-shaped bacteria with a fascinating mechanism of swimming. Unlike bacteria such as E. Coli that swim due to the rotation of helical flagella emanating from their cell body, the rotating flagella of spirochetes do not visibly project outward from their cell body. Rather, they reside within a periplasmic space between the cell body and an outer sheath, and are wound around the cell body. We will describe models that investigate the mechanisms of spirochete motility. In addition, we examine the fundamental fluid dynamics of superhelical structures translating and rotating in a Stokes fluid. Coordinated laboratory and computational experiments will be discussed.