Determining Bundle Size in a Microtubule-Kinesin Active Nematic
I am conducting research in the Dogic Lab, which is a group that studies active, self-assembling biological systems. Active systems exhibit motion driven internally by energy-consuming components rather than by external sources of energy. A significant portion of the Dogic Lab works with a microtubule-kinesin suspension capable of millimeter-length self-driven flows through the motility of nanometer-sized ATP-consuming kinesin motors. While the macroscopic dynamics of this system have been well-documented, we still lack key insights on the microscopic structure of this suspension. Specifically, we use epifluorescence in sparsely-labeled microtubule-kinesin suspensions to determine the local arrangement of microtubules and identify whether or not they form static bundles. This information will determine whether microtubules polarity sort in these suspensions and how that impacts the dynamics of their macroscopic active flows.