01/07/2011 - “A grande jornada do espermatozóide humano: como a matemática está mudando a nossa abordagem à fertilidade” - Prof. Hermes Gadelha - (Departamento de Matemática / Universidade de Oxford)

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Flagella and cilia are ubiquitous in biology as a means of motility and critical for male gametes migration in reproduction, to mucociliary clearance in the lung, to the virulence of devastating parasitic pathogens such as the Trypanosomatids, to the filter feeding of the choanoflagellates, which are constitute a critical link in the global food chain. Despite this ubiquity and importance, the details of how the ciliary or flagellar waveform emerges from the underlying mechanics and how the cell, or the environs, may control the beating pattern by regulating the axoneme is far from fully understood. We demonstrate in this talk that mechanics and modelling can be utilised to interpret observations of axonemal dynamics, swimming trajectories and beat patterns for flagellated motility impacts on the science underlying numerous areas of reproductive health, disease and marine ecology. It also highlights that this is a fertile and challenging area of inter-disciplinary research for applied mathematicians and demonstrates the importance of future observational and theoretical studies in understanding the underlying mechanics of these motile cell appendages.