Organismal Biophysics - Ciliary dynamics

Unicellular ciliates to study multicellularity

Many unicellular ciliates spontaneously self-assemble into colonies which mimic a very basal form of multicellularity. In our lab, we are developing Stentor coeruleus as a model system to study how multicellularity could have have evolved from colonial behavior of early unicellular organisms.

Stentors generate feeding currents by beating their oral cilia in a metachronal fashion. Our experiments thus far have shown that feeding flows of neighboring organisms in a colony get hydrodynamically coupled to generate flows faster flows.

This project is a collaboration with Wallace Marshall, Jack Costello and Eva Kanso.