Quantitative Life Sciences

Our foray into the Biological realm was unplanned to begin with as we tagged along with kind colleagues to learn from them and in turn, contributed with our experimental and analysis skills to their structured approach to Life Sciences research. Since we do not know how to thread a needle through our work, we simply list them here:

  • We applied particle imaging velocimetry from experimental turbulence research to study cooperative  fungal spore ejection and learned about the Ecology of Fungi: M Roper, A Seminara, MM Bandi, A Cobb, HR Dillard and A Pringle, "Dispersal of fungal spores in a cooperatively generated wind" Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 107, 104747 (2010).
  • While applying elastohydrodynamics to understand the mechanical behavior of confined red blood cells, we learned about the pathophysiology of Malaria & Sickle Cell Anemia: Thierry Savin, MM Bandi, and L Mahadevan, "Pressure-driven occlusive flow of a confined red blood cell" Soft Matter 12, 562 (2015). 
  • We learned how song birds discriminate between conspecific (own species) versus heterospecific (other species) songs through application of Information Theoretical methods to Neuroscience: Makoto Araki, MM Bandi and Y Yazaki-Sugiyama, "Mind the gap: Neural coding of species identity in birdsong prosody" Science 354, 1282 (2016).

This experience, and a collaboration on human feet and fish fins helped us converge towards locomotion, navigation, and collective behavior of organisms with complex inter and intra-special interactions as our niche of interest within the realm of Life Sciences. While continuing with the above approach of learning through collaboration with colleagues, going forward, we plan to pursue a research program in Quantitative Ethology. Ethology (the study of behavior) already lies at the cross roads of Ecology, Neuroscience, Biomechanics etc., to which, we hope to contribute with the Physics toolkit.

  • Studying the evolution of stiffness in the foot by applying mechanics of elastic shells, we learned a bit about Human Evolutionary Biology, Physical Anthropology, and Locomotion.
  • After extending the previous study to understand stiffness of fish fins, our quest to understand the biomechanics of water-to-land transition animals (Mudskippers from the Gobi fish family) has now brought us into Marine Biology.


  1. ​M Venkadesan, S Mandre and MM Bandi, "Biological feet: Evolution, mechanics and applications", Chapter 7.1 Bio-inspired Legged Locomotion, Ed. M. Sharbafi and A. Seyfarth, Elsevier Science (2017).
  2. KD Nguyen, N Yu, MM Bandi, M Venkadesan and S Mandre, "Curvature-induced stiffening of a fish fin" J. Roy. Soc. Interface 14, 20170247 (2017).
  3. M Venkadesan, MA Dias, DK Singh, MM Bandi, and S Mandre, "Stiffness of the human foot and evolution of the transverse arch" arXiv:1705.10371 (2017).