Gary Hu, an undergraduate student in mechanical engineering, won the second prize in the International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition NSF Student Competition.
The poster session provided undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to present a poster of their work from NSF-funded research as part of a competition. The poster forum provided the students an opportunity to disseminate their NSF-funded research to their junior, peer, and senior colleagues. The track is divided into the topics of (1) NSF-funded research grants/programs and (2) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REUs). Hu also won the NSF poster competition travel award.
Hu's poster, titled "Dynamic Instability and Wavelike Oscillations in a 9-Doublet Finite Element Model of Flagella" showed three objectives:
Build realistic finite element model to represent flagella's basic structure of the 9+2 axoneme and the properties of dynein motors.
Simulate the flagella model using a versatile, industry-oriented software package (ABAQUS, Dassault Systemes) to investigate the possible role of viscoelastic instability in FE models.
Evaluate the viscoelastic "flutter" hypothesis suggested by a prior analysis of the partial differential equations of a simplified 2-double axoneme model – Steady dynein activity is sufficient to produce propagating, oscillatory, flagellar waveforms, and dynamic dynein regulation is not necessary for flagella beating.
The conclusion showed that steady tangential dynein forces, combined with fluid-structural interactions, can initiate and maintain propulsive flagellar motion, without feedback to or dynamic regulation of dynein activity.