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Dr Pietro Cicuta

Dr Pietro Cicuta

Reader in Physics (Physics)

Specialist research areas

Biological Fluid Dynamics:



    • experiments on multicomponent lipid bilayers, involving diffusion and phase separation of lipid domains

Micro-organism dynamics

    • motility of algae and bacteria


    • particularly mechanisms of motion linked to motile cilia in eukaryotes; also model experiments on scallop theorem using driven colloidal particles.

Pulmonary fluid mechanics

    • how flows in mucrociliary tissues are driven by collective beating of cilia; rheology of pulmonary surfactant, and properties of mucus

Complex Fluids:



    • colloids in two-dimensional arrangements: structure, interactions, rheology; flotation.

Interfacial Flows:


Thin films

    • experiments on Langmuir monolayer films

Low-Reynolds-number Flows:


Stokesian dynamics

    • Oseen tensor and other descriptions of coupling between moving objects at low Re in collection to motile cilia synchronisation

Micro-/Nano-fluid Dynamics:



    • development of devices for the flow of cells, and control of position and shape of cells - typically these devices allow imaging of many cells at individual cell resolution; some of our devices are "micro-chemostats"

Non-Newtonian Flows:



    • polymer rheology both in bulk and in interface films


    • techniques for microrheology


    • viscoelasticity of colloidal, polymer and novel lipid mesophases

Nonlinear Dynamical Systems:


Pattern formation

    • in the context of collective dynamical patterns in cilia; patterns of domains in lipid membranes

Departments and Institutes