Accueil > Personnels > KULIC Igor


Dr Igor M. Kulić
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Bureau : C130
Equipe : Théorie et Simulation des Polymères

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Research Topics

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Biophysics : DNA Packing, Transcription, Single Molecules, Molecular Motors and Intracellular Transport, Microtubule and Actin Conformational Polymorphism and Dynamics, Plant Motility
Nonequilibrium Statistical Mechanics : Brownian Ratchets, Transport of Active Particles, Hydrodynamics of Self-Propulsion
Physics of Biomimetic Materials and Actuators : DNA-based Machines, Polymer Actuators and Motors, Smart Programmable Materials


2009-present Charge de Recherche CNRS, ICS Strasbourg
2006-2008 Harvard University, Cambridge (USA), Postdoctoral Researcher in Applied Physics
2004-2006 University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (USA),Postdoctoral Researcher in Biophysics
2001-2004 University of Mainz / MPI for Polymer Research, Doctor Thesis (summa cum laude)
2000 - Dipl. Mathematics (summa cum laude) University of Stuttgart

Otto Hahn Medal, Max Planck Society (2004)
Outstanding Doctor Thesis Award, University of Mainz (2005)
Max Planck Society Fellowship, MPG (2007)
Prix Jeune Chercheur du Groupement Français des Polymères (Physique) (2012)

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Igor M. Kulić is a Serbian born physicist and inventor, currently a CNRS researcher at ICS Strasbourg. His major research interests are at the interface of theoretical and experimental statistical mechanics, biophysics and active condensed matter.

His doctoral thesis explores problems of DNA protein complexes, liquid crystalline packing, the interplay of geometry and fluctuations on the elastic response of semiflexible filaments. During the thesis he started to experiment with ratchet plant motion and proposed a minimal single DNA motor called the twirling DNA ring. In this period his thinking and science was influenced by his collaboration and friendship with Helmut Schiessel and Rochish Thaokar.

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During his post-doc stays at UPENN and Harvard University, he developed a model for bi-directional intracellular transport, termed hitchhiking, which involves active participation of microtubule movement in organelle dispersal throughout the cell.

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Igor has investigated the conformational anomalies of microtubules and proposed a mechanism for long-range elastic interactions within their lattice. The model was generalized to include the effect of lattice defects and tubulin conformational switching. In this period he was influenced by his lifelong friend and closest collaborator , Hervé Mohrbach and the benevolent shielding by L Mahadevan and Phil Nelson.

Igor’s more recent research interests are in non-equilibrium self-organization of micro- and nano-structures, colloidal and molecular self- assembly as well creating and harnessing molecular and macroscopic motor devices. He has invented -the magnetic merry-go-round - a simple single-wire micro-device for the self-assembly of magnetic rings and helical filaments of tunable geometries. In a joint work with his father Miodrag, he has proposed and developed the concept of non-equilibrium “coherent Van der Waals self-assembly” in plasmonic and magnetic colloidal systems.

Igor has designed the concept of entanglement generating synthetic nano-machines (called "tanglotrons") whose prospects for novel active materials and artificial muscles are under intense experimental investigation.

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Combining ideas from geometry, topology and active materials, Igor has invented and practically demonstrated the “material embedded wheel”. By inducing collective zero energy modes within a responsive material and driving them far from equilibrium Igor and colleagues have built the world’s first elastodynamic rotary motor consisting of only a single piece of elastic material. This surprising device, that he calls the fiberdrive is under active development and various ports from the initial thermoelastic drive principle are currently on their way.


Animotion and Fiberdrive

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An engine out of one single piece of material.

Movie explaining the fiberdrive principle. Music by a magnificent fellow hobo, Louis T. Hardin.

Active Particles, Plant Cyborgs, Ratchets

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Nature’s best ratchets. Aquarium full of herbibots.

Magnetic Merry-Go-Round
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No funds ? No grants ? No friends ? But still want to play with colloids ?
Use a current wire to make magnetic rings and helices.

Animated Knots

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When the geometry is right and there is an external source of energy animotion is a generic effect. Ferromagnetic rings and trefoil knots on a magnetic stirrer undergoing twirling and slidering forms of animotion.
Movie credits : Lazar Kulić, 2017

Tanglotron Gels

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A model tanglotron gel collapsing under molecular motor torque.
Movie credits : Oli Benzerara, 2016.

Selected Works

[1] A. Baumann, A. Sánchez-Ferrer, L. Jacomine, P. Martinoty, V. Le Houerou, F. Ziebert & I. M. Kulić , Motorizing fibres with geometric zero-energy modes , Nature Materials, doi : 10.1038/s41563-018-0062-0 (2018)

[2] F. Weisser, O. Benzerara, A. Johner and I.M. Kulić, Topological energy storage of work generated by nanomotors , Soft Matter 11, 732 (2015) ; Q. Li, G. Fuks, E. Moulin, M. Maaloum, M. Rawiso, I.M. Kulić, J.T. Foy and N. Giuseppone, Macroscopic contraction of a gel induced by the integrated motion of light-driven molecular motors Nature Nanotechnology 10, 161 (2015)

[3] Ziebert, F., Mohrbach, H., & Kulić, I. M. Why Microtubules Run in Circles : Mechanical Hysteresis of the Tubulin Lattice. Phys. Rev. Lett., 114, (2015)

[4] Kulić, I. M., & Kulić, M. L. Self-Assembly of Colloidal Superstructures in Coherently Fluctuating Fields. Phys. Rev. Lett., 111, 198301. (2013).

[5] Mohrbach, H., Johner, A., & Kulić, I. M. Tubulin Bistability and Polymorphic Dynamics of Microtubules. Phys. Rev. Lett., 105, 268102. (2010).

[6] T. Sanchez, I.M. Kulić & Z. Dogic, Circularization, photo-mechanical switching and supercoiling transition of actin filaments , Phys.Rev. Lett. 104, 098103 (2010)

[7] I.M.Kulić, M. Mani, H. Mohrbach, R. Thaokar & L. Mahadevan, Botanical Ratchets, Proc. Roy. Soc. B, 276, 2243 (2009)

[8] I.M.Kulić, A.E.X. Brown, H. Kim, C. Kural, B. Blehm, P.R. Selvin, P.C. Nelson & V.I. Gelfand, The role of microtubule movement in bidirectional organelle transport, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105,10011 (2008)

[9] I.M. Kulić, & P.C. Nelson, Hitchhiking through the cytoplasm, Europhys. Lett. 81, 18001 (2008)

[10] H. Mohrbach & I.M. Kulić, Motor driven microtubule shape fluctuations - force from within the lattice Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 218102 (2007)

[11] I.M.Kulić, R. Thaokar & H. Schiessel, Twirling DNA rings - Swimming nanomotors ready for a kickstart, Europhys. Lett. 72, 527 (2005)

[12] I.M.Kulić & H. Schiessel, DNA spools under tension, Phys. Rev. Lett. 92, 228101 (2004)

[13] I.M.Kulić & H. Schiessel, Nucleosomes go mobile through twist defects, Phys. Rev. Lett. 91, 148103 (2003)

[14] I.M.Kulić, Shapes in Motion : Confotronics , Tanglotronics , Animotion , habililtation

Links and Thoughts

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