Department of Mechanical Engineering Fall Seminar Series
“From fast to ultrafast: the biological world of extreme movement”
Presented by Professor Sheila Patek
Department of Biology, Duke University
This talk will explore the principles of fast movements in small biological and synthetic systems. I will begin with a classic consideration of power-amplified systems – a class of mechanisms that aims to circumvent the tradeoff between force and velocity – and then build on this tradeoff to incorporate the dynamic interactions among motors, springs, latches and projectiles. I will explore the current knowledge of these dynamics in both engineered and biological systems and propose ways of thinking about the design of small and fast synthetic systems and strategic analysis of the rich diversity of biological systems.
Professor Sheila Patek is an Associate Professor in the Biology Department at Duke University. Patek received her A.B. with honors in Biology from Harvard University followed by a Ph.D. in Biology from Duke University. She was then awarded an interdisciplinary Miller Postdoctoral Fellowship at UC Berkeley. She has received several honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the George A. Bartholomew Award for distinguished contributions to comparative physiology, a Radcliffe Fellowship, a NSF CAREER award, and the Brilliant 10 award from Popular Science magazine. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, Hellman Family Foundation, Armstrong Fund for Science, Department of Defense, and others. Patek currently leads a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) funded by the Army Research Office.