Ricardo Cortez is the Pendergraft William Larkin Duren Professor in the Mathematics Department and Director of the Center for Computational Science at Tulane University in New Orleans. His training is in mechanical engineering (BS) and applied mathematics. His research is mainly in computational fluid dynamics and numerical analysis. His current research interests are in developing and analyzing computational methods for the simulation of biological flows. Of particular interest are collaborative investigations of flows generated by swimming microorganisms, cilia, and other compliant, flexible boundaries in a fluid with an emphasis on accurate simulations around the boundaries.
Professor Cortez will lecture on "Computational Models of Flows Generated by Biological Microstructures." Many different types of microorganisms, such as bacteria, generate interesting fluid flow around them as they move their flagella in helical or undulatory ways. As measuring devices become more accurate in the laboratories, researchers are able to observe intricate flows generated by either single or multiple organisms. New flow patterns have been observed when organisms are near a flat surface like the bottom plate of the microscope. Computational models of these flows provide additional insight into how these flows arise, what they might look like in the space between organisms, and the role they might play in the overall motion of swarms of organisms. Similar techniques are also applied to the motion of cilia or passive organism appendages. The lecture will explain the models that are used in the simulations and the ways in which computations and experiments work together to address questions of interest to biologists and physicists.