Living patterns: Linking microscopic properties with emergent macroscopic dynamics


Event details

Date 24.04.2023
Hour 15:1515:55
Speaker Prof. Guillermina Ramirez-SanJuan, Living Patterns Laboratory, EPFL
Category Inaugural lectures - Honorary Lecture
Event Language English

15:15  Inaugural lecture Prof. G. Ramirez-SanJuan
15:55  Inaugural lecture Prof. H. Stahlberg

Living matter relies on countless molecular interactions to execute the processes that keep us alive. In most biological contexts, detailed knowledge of these nanometer-scale interactions is yet to be translated into understanding of how they give rise to cellular, tissue and organism scale properties. In my talk I will discuss how measurements of the patterns and dynamics of a biological system can lead to the discovery of mesoscopic laws that describe its macroscopic behavior. Specifically, I will focus on how we apply this approach to the problem of flow generation by arrays of beating filaments known as cilia, highlighting how living matter provides accessible experimental platforms to explore the multi-scale physics of pattern formation.

I earned my PhD in Biophysics under the supervision of Margaret Gardel at the University of Chicago. My work in the Gardel lab focused on understanding how cell migration is guided by the geometry of the extra-cellular environment. Additionally, during my doctoral studies I collaborated closely with the Horne-Badovinac lab to investigate the role of cytoskeletal patterning in organ morphogenesis.
The experience of collaborating across different fields inspired me to become a joint postdoctoral researcher with Wallace Marshall at the University of California, San Francisco and Manu Prakash at Stanford University. There I became interested in combining tools from cell biology and fluid mechanics to study flow generation by ciliary arrays.
I have always been fascinated by the diversity of patterns observed in biological systems, whether they exist at the subcellular, cellular, tissue or organism scales.
When I’m not in the lab I am in the kitchen experimenting with new protocols a.k.a recipes or running by the nearest lake.
To learn more about my scientific journey you can watch my Living story.


Practical information

  • General public
  • Registration required


  • Institut de Physique