1st year u/g students, 2nd year u/g students, 3rd year u/g students
Student Responsibilty with support from IIP and/or Host Organization
International Internship Program
About: The Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization is a research institute for investigations of complex non-equilibrium systems, particularly in physics and biology. It is one of 80 institutes in the Max Planck Society (Max Planck Gesellschaft). The institute has four departments conducting research in the following areas: nonlinear dynamics, fluid dynamics, pattern formation, biocomplexity, and dynamics of complex fluids.
Intern Responsibilities: IIP interns will work on tasks related to the following experimental and theoretical projects at the Institute.
Control of pattern formation in Dictyostelium discoideum cells: A classic example of self-generated patterns in nature is found in the social amobae Dictyostelium discoideum. When starved, millions of individual cells signal each other with the signaling molecule cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). cAMP waves in the form of spiral or target patterns propagate in cell populations and direct aggregation of individual cells to form centimeter-scale Voronoi domains and eventually multicellular fruiting bodies. In this study, the laboratory controls the shape of Voronoi domains by introducing periodic geometrical obstacles with different size and periodicity in the system. Observations are made that the obstacles act as aggregation centers and the periodic arrangement of the obstacles is reflected directly in the corresponding Voronoi domains.
Cell migration in Electric Field - Cells have the ability to detect continuous current electric fields (EFs) and respond to them with a directed migratory movement. Dictyostelium discoideum (D.d.) cells, a key model organism for the study of eukaryotic chemotaxis, orient and migrate toward the cathode under the influence of an EF. The underlying sensing mechanism and whether it is shared by the chemotactic response pathway remains unknown. Observations are made that besides triggering a directional bias EF influences the cellular kinematics by accelerating the movement of cells along their path. Through the analysis of the PI3K and Phg2 distribution in the cytosol and of the cellular adherence to the substrate we aim at elucidating whereas this speed up effect in the electric field is due to either a molecular signalling or the interaction with the substrate.
Stochastic description of Chemotaxis - Chemotaxis, the directed motion of a cell toward a chemical source, plays a key role in many essential biological processes. The directional motion is described as the interplay between deterministic and stochastic contributions based on Langevin equation. The functional form of this equation is directly extracted from experimental data by angle-resolved conditional averages. It contains quadratic deterministic damping and multiplicative noise. The IIP intern will use this lab's approach, which captures the dynamics of chemotactic cells, and will quantify differences and similarities of different amoeba and characterize the heterogeneity within a population of migrating cells.
Thermal convection - Thermal convection is fluid flow driven by a thermal gradient. If the thermal driving is strong, the flow is turbulent. Such flows are one of the most efficient heat transport mechanisms and occurs in many industrial and natural systems. We investigate the heat transport and the fluid flow by thermal convection in cylindrical vessels with a hot bottom and a cold top plate. Most investigation assume Boussinesq conditions. That means that the fluid properties are the same at the warm bottom and the cold top plate. While studying such simplified systems is important for a fundamental understanding of the underlying mechanisms, in many industrial and natural convection systems, the Boussinesq conditions are not fulfilled. In example, for industrial cooling systems, supercritical gases are used that have viscosities similar to gases but heat capacities of liquids. Other examples are atmospheric convection or convection in stellar interiors. In this project, the IIP intern would study turbulent thermal convection at strongly non-Boussinesq conditions by using Sulfur-hexafluoride (SF6) above its critical point. The heat transport and the flow field are studied using thermal probes and optical techniques.
Active Droplet Swimmers in Complex Geometries - This research group studies active liquid crystal droplets and their behavior in well-controlled microfluidic geometries like channels, pillars and grain/sphere packings in 2D and 3D using light and 3D light sheet fluorescence microscopy. The IIP intern will assist in the fabrication of microfluidic PDMS devices, the recording of video microscopy data and their evaluation using existing software packages.
Qualifications: IIP candidates with interests in physics, biophysics, biology, math, and natural sciences are encouraged to apply. Prior lab experience would be an asset.