Osmosis is a physical phenomenon which is central to the function of all living cells. Yet a long-running discussion exists in the chemical physics literature about how we should understand osmosis. Together with my (now former) PhD student Tom Lion, I have been investigating the static and dynamic features of osmosis, using Molecular Dynamics simulations of a very simple model system in which "solute" and "solvent" particles are identical and purely repulsive; the only difference being that solute particles are confined by an external "membrane" force while the solvent particles are not. Using this model system, we have investigated different ways to compute pressure in Molecular Dynamics simulations, the nature of the driving forces underlying osmotic equilibria, and what happens to osmotic phenomena when the solute particles are active (self-propelled). Currently, we are working on new theoretical approaches to describe the dynamics of a system as it approaches the osmotic steady state.
Here is a great 3 minute video of our PhD student Freya Bull describing her research modelling bacterial infection of a urinary catheter!
We are searching for a part-time computer systems administrator for our group in Jena. Please contact us if you are interested!
Welcome to Ariane Zander who has joined us as a technician in our lab!