ANR project BactPhys


The physics of multicellular organization in bacteria


We propose a novel approach to study bacterial multicellular organization based on physical mechanisms in order to identify the minimum elements of biochemical regulation required to coordinate complex processes such as bacterial cluster formation, collective migration, and fruiting body formation. This is a multidisciplinary project involving mathematical modeling, large-scale simulations, and biological experiments. It aims at: i) the development of realistic microscopic models for pattern formation in bacteria, and ii) the derivation of the corresponding hydrodynamic equations to describe the macroscopic behavior of a bacterial colony/biofilm. This is an ambitious plan that involves developing new physics and mathematics, together with a strong experimental component. The development of such theoretical framework will have an impact way beyond bacterial modeling and can be placed in the broader focus of active matter theory, which has applications as diverse as in tissue growth and in the engineering of biomimetic materials.


Interplay between moving and not moving bacteria. A trajectory (red line) of a bacterium moving between not moving bacteria. Fixed bacteria guide the motion of the moving ones by aligning their direction of motion along their surface (see panel).

People involved:

 - Partners: J. Barré, F. Peruani (PI), M. Ribot.

- Postdocs: Robert Grossmann and Emiliano Perez-Ipiña.

 - External collaborators: Dorota Czerucka (Monaco), Tam Mignot and Emilia Mauriello (Marseille).

 - Host lab: Laboratory Dieudonné, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis.

Dates: from 01/10/2015 to 30/09/2019

Publications of the project:

Last update: Sept. 2017

A polar bundle of flagella can drive bacterial swimming by pushing, pulling, or coiling around the cell body
M. Hintsche, V. Waljor, R. Grossmann, Marco J. Kuhn, K.M. Thormann, F. Peruani, C. Beta
submitted (2017) [pdf]

Salmonella Typhimirium in the search of host cells: inter-individual variability and first passage time
S. Otte, E. Perez-Ipiña, R. Pointier-Bres, D. Czerucka, F. Peruani
submitted (2017) [pdf]

Hydrodynamic equations for flocking models without velocity alignment
F. Peruani
J. Phys. Soc. Jpn. 86, 101010 (2017) [pdf]

Large-scale patterns in a minimal cognitive flocking model: incidental leaders, nematic patterns, and aggregates
L. Barberis, F. Peruani
Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 248001 (2016) [pdf]
[Read the Synopsis: "Flocks Without Memory" by Matteo Rini in Physics here -- the article was covered in other news outlets as well, e.g. here ]

Pattern formation of self-propelled rods with directional reversal
R. Grossmann, F. Peruani, M. Bär
Phys. Rev. E 94, 050602(R) (2016) [pdf]

Diffusion properties of active particles with directional reversal
R. Grossmann, F. Peruani, M. Bär
New J. Phys. 18 043009 (2016) [pdf]
[Read a Perspective on this work by Carsten Beta here ]