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TU Dresden
Dept. for Innovative
Methods of Computing

Collective Motion

Myxococcus xanthus

We focus on identification of new unifying principles describing the essential aspects of collective motion in living systems, being one of the most relevant and spectacular manifestations of collective behavior. We consider systems ranging from cultures bacterial to migrating tissue cells and employ ceoll-based models as cellular automata, Interacting Particle Systems and agent-based models.

Formation of a vortex

One of the essential problems in developmental biology is how spatial patterns of differentiated cells (e.g. tissues) can arise from an initially uniform mass of identical cells. We address this question using multicellular development in Myxococcus xanthus as a model system and apply an interdisciplinary approach combining biological experiments and quantitative mathematical modeling and simulation. In response to starvation, cells of the gliding bacterium Myxococcus xanthus initiate a multicellular developmental program that leads to streaming and aggregation patterns and culminates in the formation of spore-filled fruiting bodies. The non-diffusible C-signal plays a key role in inducing and choreographing the aggregation and sporulation processes. This project promises new insights into pattern formation mechanisms in biological systems and a better understanding of how non-diffusible morphogens may induce and organize morphogenetic cell movements.

Key Publications:

F. Peruani, J. Starruss, V. Jakovljevic, L. Sogaard-Andersen, A. Deutsch, M. Bär
Collective motion and nonequilibrium cluster formation in colonies of gliding bacteria
Phys. Rev. Lett., 108, 9, 098102, 2012 [DOI]

F. Peruani, T. Klauss, A. Deutsch, A. Voss-Böhme
Traffic jams, gliders and bands in the quest for collective motion of self-propelled particles
Phys. Rev. Lett., 106, 12, 128101, 2011 [DOI]


Prof. Lotte Soegaard-Andersen, M.D., Ph.D (Max-Planck-Institut für terrestrische Mikrobiologie, Marburg)
Prof. Dr. Markus Bär (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Berlin)
Dr. Fernando Peruani (Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden)