Sofia Magkiriadou

University of Fribourg

I grew up in Thessaloniki, Greece. After high school I moved to New Haven, CT, USA, to study physics at Yale University. I completed my bachelor thesis on optomechanical resonators in the Harris lab. For graduate school I went to Harvard University in Boston, MA, where I joined the Manoharan lab. There, I used colloidal particles to create and study photonic materials. I subsequently moved to the University of Chicago, for a postdoc on out-of-equilibrium colloidal dynamics in the Irvine group. I got acquainted with bacteria in the Laboratory for Experimental Biophysics at EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland, as a postdoc on biophysics. Presently, I am a postdoc in the Soft Matter and Photonics Group at the University of Fribourg, in Switzerland.



Tuesday April 18th

From fundamental studies in biology to active photonic materials: an outlook

In this talk I will share some of my itinerary through the fields of active matter, biophysics, and optics. I will then discuss interdisciplinary connections between these fields, and ways to explore these in experiments. In the field of active matter, colloidal scientists have gradually been mastering the control and understanding of active particles. This enables us to progress towards experimental model systems at higher density and complexity. Thus, we can begin to envision active matter in the continuum: active materials. At the same time, biological systems, such as the interior of bacterial cells, can also be thought of as active materials and have at times been described as such. For instance, in some bacterial species the available energy has been associated with intracellular dynamics or with the cell’s physical state. Inspired by these observations, I will then ask: how can we use model colloidal systems to uncover basic principles of out-of-equilibrium physics, in order to elucidate biological questions? Beyond biology, can we use this knowledge to create new active materials? I will entertain this question by discussing ideas for the use of active colloidal particles in the development of optical devices with dynamical properties.