In a new chapter from Rockstar, host Gabriel León speaks with active matter physics Millennium Nucleus researcher Francisca Guzmán and an academic in the Physics Department of the University of Chile’s Faculty of Science, who conducted a study on active carpets and how they operate on other scientific projects. can be applied in.
Beginning with the conversation, Francesca Guzman explains what an active carpet means. “A group of microorganisms capable of moving on a plane, which may be a solid surface, and as they move they produce a hydrodynamic disturbance.” Given this background, the work of Guzmán and his research team focused on discovering how this set of hydrodynamic perturbations behave vertically, “How does fluid move in this folder”,
To understand how these active folders move independently of the fluid, Francisca Guzmán explains that they are made of cilia, which are fixed in space, and may have coordination phases where they move randomly. can. “In the work we also use vorticella as an example, which are like some “peglokos”, they are fixed in space but capable of causing disturbances and disturbances in the flow”. An example of these cilia are “Lung or nose hair”
Because of the complexity of this type of study, Francesca Guzmán explains that the way to do this type of research is through numerical simulations. “What we did is, knowing what the disturbances produced by each microorganism are, we gave a mathematical description of the disturbances that each of these microorganisms are capable of producing”, This is just the beginning, as the focus of their investigation is on the whole system, so after that they have to add up all the individual errors and calculate them vertically. “First we ask ourselves what the mean flow is, then we study the variance, or speed square, of the average of all these microorganisms.”
Within the results of this research on active folders, Dr. Francisca Guzmán explains that microorganisms, like other living beings, have the ability to organize themselves collectively, which results in them being able to attract liquids. are capable. “When they self-organize they are able to draw nutrients, it’s like being at a concert, when we’re all disorganized, nothing happens, but if we collectively move forward.” As we grow, we are able to attract nutrients or generate flow, keeping us alive”.
Led by Dr. Francisca Guzmán, the implications of this study can be carried over to other topics, such as the control and spread of bacteria, a condition that has always been important in the field of health. Understanding how cilia behave is also added, as we are full of these in our bodies, as are pulmonary or digestive cilia.
In this line, it is that approach to the study of more macro organisms such as algae in the ocean, Francisca Guzmán points out, can be extended, but “We thought that at first we could ask ourselves the question on a more microscopic scale, maybe we could extend it to the millimeter scale and think about whether these flowers were capable of carrying molecules or other microorganisms, or other algae. are capable of that are not moving vertically, on a microscopic scale. This is something we want to explore, and take it to other extreme environments as well.” The impact of the research by Dr. Francisca Guzman can be extended to other areas of biology and medicine.
An example would be the design of self-cleaning surfaces, taking into account the way the microorganisms in these active folders function, and that allows particles to be washed away. “There was a paper published last year where they cited us, in which they made an active folder with artificial cilia, they could respond to an external field, they applied a large molecule and they saw how it moved “,