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Filaments, Membranes, Cells - and their Interactions

SoftComp Topical Workshop, open to everyone!

28 - 31 January 2018
Jülich, Germany



Soft matter composites of synthetic and biological origins are usually formed by aggregation and growth processes. Interfaces affect aggregation and polymerisation, and reciprocally, polymers and aggregates modify the properties of interfaces. While in synthetic systems the interfaces are often fluid or solid, in biological systems many interfaces are lipid-bilayer membranes or more complex cell membranes. Reconstituted biological and biomimetic systems provide novel routes to the engineering of functional soft matter systems. Moreover, integrating understanding of physical processes and biological regulation provides new perspectives on biological systems.

This topical workshop will focus on the main building blocks that are relevant for living matter: polymers, filaments, membranes, and eventually entire cells. The themes will range from interface-mediated aggregation processes using supported lipid bilayers and other model membrane systems via the characterization of mechanical properties of membranes and polymers—e.g. the extracellular matrix—to the aggregation of bacteria in biofilms and the interaction of cells with polymeric gels. Furthermore, active metabolic processes may significantly contribute to aggregation and structure formation.

The workshop aims to bring together researchers that synthesize and characterize engineered systems with researchers that focus on biological systems.