BioE Seminar: “Endless forms most beautiful: How physics shapes life - starfish larvae, swimming parasites and other musings in science”

Manu Prakash, Stanford University

2/15/2017

12:00pm - 1:00pm

Location: 290, Hearst Memorial Mining Building

Spring 2017 Seminar Series

Wednesday, February 15
12noon - 1:00pm
290 Hearst Mining Building

“Endless forms most beautiful: How physics shapes life - starfish larvae, swimming parasites and other musings in science”

Manu Prakash
Assistant Professor of Bioengineering
Stanford University

Plethora of diverse animal shapes and forms decorate our planet. Although living systems are shaped by physical environments; it’s often difficult to tease apart quantitative tradeoffs linking form and function. Using examples ranging from marine to fresh water metazoans, I will elucidate several physical principles governing animal shape. Using starfish larvae (Patiria miniata) as an example, we will uncover quantitative physical tradeoffs that govern a feeding/swimming tradeoff underlying almost alien like shapes found in majority of marine larval forms. Secondly, utilizing larval stage of a parasitic flatworm (trematodes), we will explore how Schistosoma mansoni (root cause of Schistosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease affecting 200 million people world wide) exploit peculiar shapes to enhance motility. Combined biological, theoretical and ecological explorations provide a glimpse into biophysics of disease transmission. Finally, time permitting, I will share other musings in marine biophysics, frugal science and global health.

  • Sponsor:

    Bioengineering (BioE)
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