Azam Gholami

(in person)

I am a group leader at the Department of Prof. Bodenschatz interested on the experimental and theoretical aspects of pattern formation in colonies of Dictysotelium discoideum (D.d.) cells. The slim mold D.d. is a valuable model organism to study pattern formation and development in biology. When deprived of nutrients, D.d. cells aggregate by a chemotactic response to the chemoattractant cAMP and then develop to form multicellular fruiting bodies. The cells initiate the process by the spontaneous release of cAMP pulses. The other cells respond to the attractant stimulation by moving towards its source and by relaying the signal. As a result, circular and spiral wave patterns form with time, which have a periodicity of few minutes. In the natural environment, this aggregation occurs in forest soil and may be subject to water flow. Our previous work on flow-driven waves in a colony of signaling D.d. cells has shown that the external flow can significantly change the wave generation processes. Our investigations are also focused on pattern formation of D.d. cells in the presence of external obstacles. In their natural habitat, populations of starving cells are exposed to spatial heterogeneities that will profoundly influence the processes of wave generation and propagation.
Moreover, in the synthetic biology project, we are interested on cilia-driven motility and transport.
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