Cytoskeletal active matter describes novel synthetic materials made up of mixtures of cytoskeletal filaments and molecular motors. By consuming chemical fuel, the molecular motors can bind to and create actively moving crosslinks between thefilaments to drive local sliding motion, which can lead to large-scale collective motions in the filament/motor mixture. Although these materials are made of small numbers of components, they can reveal how higher-order aspects of assembly and organization are built in living cells. These systems also present new challenges to our understanding, design, and analysis of materials,  and have the potential to provide valuable new technologies such as autonomously moving and self-healing materials. How do we integrate  molecular-level knowledge to predict higher-order aspects of assembly and organization in these systems? We are studying the fundamental interactions underlying dynamic self organization and stress generation within filament-motor mixtures.

Investigators: Betterton, Glaser, Hough