Master of Science in Engr, Jawharlal NehruCentre Advanced Scientific Research (2014)
Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, ME-PHD (2021)
Masters, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bangalore, India, Engineering Mechanics (focus on Fluid Mechanics) (2014)
Bachelor of Engineering, Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS)-Pilani, Mechanical engineering (2011)
Manu Prakash, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Current Research and Scholarly Interests
Biophysics, Biological Fluid Mechanics, Microscale transport phenomena
Scale-free vertical tracking microscopy.
The behavior and microscale processes associated with freely suspended organisms, along with sinking particles underlie key ecological processes in the ocean. Mechanistically studying such multiscale processes in the laboratory presents a considerable challenge for microscopy: how to measure single cells at microscale resolution, while allowing them to freely move hundreds of meters in the vertical direction? Here we present a solution in the form of a scale-free, vertical tracking microscope, based on a 'hydrodynamic treadmill' with no bounds for motion along the axis of gravity. Using this method to bridge spatial scales, we assembled a multiscale behavioral dataset of nonadherent planktonic cells and organisms. Furthermore, we demonstrate a 'virtual-reality system for single cells', wherein cell behavior directly controls its ambient environmental parameters, enabling quantitative behavioral assays. Our method and results exemplify a new paradigm of multiscale measurement, wherein one can observe and probe macroscale and ecologically relevant phenomena at microscale resolution. Beyond the marine context, we foresee that our method will allow biological measurements of cells and organisms in a suspended state by freeing them from the confines of the coverslip.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41592-020-0924-7
View details for PubMedID 32807956
Coupled Active Systems Encode an Emergent Hunting Behavior in the Unicellular Predator Lacrymaria olor.
Current biology : CB
Many single-celled protists use rapid morphology changes to perform fast animal-like behaviors. To understand how such behaviors are encoded, we analyzed the hunting dynamics of the predatory ciliate Lacrymaria olor, which locates and captures prey using the tip of a slender "neck" that can rapidly extend more than seven times its body length (500mum from its body) and retract in seconds. By tracking single cells in real-time over hours and analyzing millions of sub-cellular postures, we find that these fast extension-contraction cycles underlie an emergent hunting behavior that comprehensively samples a broad area within the cell's reach. Although this behavior appears complex, we show that it arises naturally as alternating sub-cellular ciliary and contractile activities rearrange the cell's underlying helical cytoskeleton to extend or retract the neck. At short timescales, a retracting neck behaves like an elastic filament under load, such that compression activates a series of buckling modes that reorient the head and scramble its extensile trajectory. At longer timescales, the fundamental length of this filament can change, altering the location in space where these transitions occur. Coupling these fast and slow dynamics together, we present a simple model for how Lacrymaria samples the range of geometries and orientations needed to ensure dense stochastic sampling of the immediate environment when hunting to locate and strike at prey. More generally, coupling active mechanical and chemical signaling systems across different timescales may provide a general strategy by which mechanically encoded emergent cell behaviors can be understood or engineered.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2019.09.034
View details for PubMedID 31679941
- Heat or mass transport from drops in shearing flows. Part 1. The open-streamline regime JOURNAL OF FLUID MECHANICS 2018; 850: 439–83
- Heat or mass transport from drops in shearing flows. Part 2. Inertial effects on transport JOURNAL OF FLUID MECHANICS 2018; 850: 484–524
The principles of cascading power limits in small, fast biological and engineered systems
2018; 360 (6387): 397-+
Mechanical power limitations emerge from the physical trade-off between force and velocity. Many biological systems incorporate power-enhancing mechanisms enabling extraordinary accelerations at small sizes. We establish how power enhancement emerges through the dynamic coupling of motors, springs, and latches and reveal how each displays its own force-velocity behavior. We mathematically demonstrate a tunable performance space for spring-actuated movement that is applicable to biological and synthetic systems. Incorporating nonideal spring behavior and parameterizing latch dynamics allows the identification of critical transitions in mass and trade-offs in spring scaling, both of which offer explanations for long-observed scaling patterns in biological systems. This analysis defines the cascading challenges of power enhancement, explores their emergent effects in biological and engineered systems, and charts a pathway for higher-level analysis and synthesis of power-amplified systems.
View details for PubMedID 29700237
- Schistosoma mansoni cercariae swim effciently by exploiting an elastohydrodynamic coupling NATURE PHYSICS 2017; 13 (3): 266-271
A relationship between protein mobility and organelle morphology in the endoplasmic reticulum.
AMER SOC CELL BIOLOGY. 2017
View details for Web of Science ID 000426664300508
How cells jump? Unraveling biophysical limits of cell motility in an ultra-fast swimming ciliate Halteria grandinella.
AMER SOC CELL BIOLOGY. 2017
View details for Web of Science ID 000426664302309
Collective motion in a suspension of micro-swimmers that run-and-tumble and rotary diffuse
Journal of Fluid Mechanics
2015; 781: 422-466
View details for DOI 10.1017/jfm.2015.473
- Computational modeling of microfluidic fuel cells with flow-through porous electrodes JOURNAL OF POWER SOURCES 2011; 196 (23): 10019-10031
Nanorobot propulsion using helical elastic filaments at low Reynolds numbers
Journal of Nanotechnology in Engineering and Medicine
View details for DOI 10.1115/1.4003300