Archived project

Towards Artificial Paramecia

Goal: We aim to investigate the sensorial-actuation capabilities of the cilia possessed by the unicellular protozoan Paramecium caudatum towards uncovering design principles for artificial biomimetic cilia capable of exhibiting similar emergent behaviours.

Updates
0 new
3
Recommendations
0 new
3
Followers
0 new
23
Reads
0 new
176

Project log

Richard Mayne
added a research item
Cilia are microscopic finger-like cell-surface organelles possessed by a great many eukaryotic organisms, including humans, whose purposes include generating local fluid movements via rhythmic whip-like beating and environmental sensing. Despite intense research efforts since their discovery by van Leeuwenhoek in the 1670's, several key questions regarding ciliary functions, experimental manipulation and in silico imitation remain unanswered. Major justifications for cilia research lie in their involvement in various forms of human disease (ciliopathies) and their ability to instantiate decentralised, asynchronous sensorial-actuation of adjacent matter through modulation of beating characteristics. Further elucidation of these characteristics, which is a problem requiring the combined expertise of mathematicians, computer scientists, engineers and life scientists, will lead to novel biomedical therapies, creation of `smart' actuating surfaces for microfluidics/lab-on-chip applications and a greater understanding of fluid mechanics in real-world scenarios. This lavishly-illustrated anthology presents recent advances in the fields of ciliary investigation, manipulation, emulation, mimesis and modelling from key researchers in their fields: its goal is to explain the state-of-the-art in cilia bioengineering and bio-computation in a uniquely creative, accessible manner, towards encouraging further transdisciplinary work in the field as well as educating a broad spectrum of scientists and lay people. The volume is split into three distinct but interwoven themes: Biology: Biological preliminaries for the study of cilia; the state-of-the-art in genetic engineering of ciliated cells for biomedical purposes; reprogramming of cilia dynamics in live cells. Engineering: Creation of macro cilia robots for object sorting applications; pneumatic cilia for the optimization of fluid motion; electrostatic, magnetic and MEMS cilia for microfluidic mixing; reviews in artificial cilia fabrication, actuation and flow induction methods. Numerical and computational modelling. Analyses of thin film cilia for `lab on chip' microfluidic mixing applications; modelling of gel-based artificial cilia towards simulating dynamic behaviors of responsive cilia layers in complex fluids across a wide range of potential applications.
Richard Mayne
added a research item
The nanotechnology revolution has allowed us to speculate on the possibility of hybridising nanoscale materials with live substrates, yet significant doubt still remains pertaining to the effects of nanomaterials on biological matter. In this investigation, we cultivate the ciliated protistic pond-dwelling microorganism Paramecium caudatum in the presence of excessive quantities of magnetite nanoparticles in order to deduce potential beneficial applications for this technique, as well as observe any deleterious effects on the organisms’ health. Our findings indicate that this variety of nanoparticle is well-tolerated by P. caudatum cells, who were observed to consume them in quantities exceeding 5–12% of their body volume: cultivation in the presence of magnetite nanoparticles does not alter P. caudatum cell volume, swimming speed, growth rate or peak colony density and cultures may persist in nanoparticle-contaminated media for many weeks. We demonstrate that P. caudatum cells ingest starch-coated magnetite nanoparticles which facilitates their being magnetically immobilised whilst maintaining apparently normal ciliary dynamics, thus demonstrating that nanoparticle biohybridisation is a viable alternative to conventional forms of ciliate quieting. Ingested magnetite nanoparticle deposits appear to aggregate, suggesting that (a) the process of being internalised concentrates and may therefore detoxify (i.e. render less reactive) nanomaterial suspensions in aquatic environments, and (b) P. caudatum is a candidate organism for programmable nanomaterial manipulation and delivery.
Andrew Adamatzky
added a research item
Motile cilia are cell-surface organelles whose purposes, in ciliated protists and certain ciliated vertebrate epithelia, include generating fluid flow, sensing and substance uptake. Certain properties of cilia arrays, such as beating synchronisation and manipulation of external proximate particulate matter, are considered emergent, but remain incompletely characterised despite these phenomena having being the subject of extensive modelling. This study constitutes a laboratory experimental characterisation of one of the emergent properties of motile cilia: manipulation of adjacent particulates. The work demonstrates through automated videomicrographic particle tracking that interactions between microparticles and somatic cilia arrays of the ciliated model organism Paramecium caudatum constitute a form of rudimentary ‘sorting’. Small particles are drawn into the organism's proximity by cilia-induced fluid currents at all times, whereas larger particles may be held immobile at a distance from the cell margin when the cell generates characteristic feeding currents in the surrounding media. These findings can contribute to the design and fabrication of biomimetic cilia, with potential applications to the study of ciliopathies.
Richard Mayne
added an update
 
Richard Mayne
added an update
Full text added:
Emergent Behaviors in a Bio-Inspired Platform Controlled by a Physical Cellular Automata Cluster -- Assaf, Mayne, Melhuish & Adamatzky (2016)
 
Richard Mayne
added an update
Working paper added: A novel method for immobilising ciliates using magnetic nanoparticles.
 
Richard Mayne
added a project goal
We aim to investigate the sensorial-actuation capabilities of the cilia possessed by the unicellular protozoan Paramecium caudatum towards uncovering design principles for artificial biomimetic cilia capable of exhibiting similar emergent behaviours.