A team of Lobachevsky University scientists headed by Vasily Zaburdaev, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Supercomputer Technologies, is implementing a research project "Lévy random walks as programmable taxis strategies for synthetic organisms". The project is supported by a grant from the Russian Science Foundation and will continue from 2016 to 2018.
The ability to move is the key to survival of most living organisms, from bacteria to humans. Bacteria, in spite of their small size, are "smart" enough to change the way they move in response to changing conditions of their environment. Is there a potential for "tuning" their taxis (a movement or activity of a cell or an organism in response to a stimulus) to create, for example, some new effective strains of anticancer or drug-delivering bacteria?
In this project, the scientists are planning to explore the potential of Lévy walks as one of the answers to this question. Levi walks represent a stochastic transport model, in which a particle moves at long distances at a constant speed abruptly changing its direction. The aim of this project is to build a realistic model leading to the emergence of Lévy patterns in search strategies by combining the use of the methods of the Lévy walks theory (and the accumulated knowledge of their physical applications) with experimental and theoretical facts on the mobility of living organisms.
The results of the project can be implemented in engineering applications, including the development of new algorithms and mechanisms for autonomous robots that may be used in disaster areas. With the use of these results, it will be possible to produce novel strains of bacteria in experimental genetic engineering as a new means of cancer therapy.