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Cambridge Infectious Diseases

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

Studying at Cambridge


Panayiota Katsamba

Panayiota  Katsamba

I develop mathematical models of the physical mechanics of bacterial locomotion and bacteriophages, viruses infecting bacteria.

Panayiota Katsamba is available for consultancy.

Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics
Centre for Mathematical Sciences
University of Cambridge
Wilberforce Road

Cambridge , United Kingdom CB3 0WA

Research Interests

Physical mechanics (of fluids and solids) and biophysics that govern bacterial locomotion, bacterial infection and the translocation of bacteriophage viruses infecting bacteria, physiological flows, and biological fluid flows in general.

Panayiota is a member of the Biological Physics and Mechanics research group in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. Her supervisor is Professor Eric Lauga. Her research explores the physical mechanics in the world of bacteria, focusing on three aspects:

(1) The migration of flagellotropic bacteriophage viruses infecting bacteria;
(2) The effect of elasticity of the bacterial flagellar filament on the propulsion of the cells and their ability to traverse constrictions
(Collaborators: Huang Hen -Wei, Bradley J. Nelson, ETH Zurich ; Selman Sakar, EPFL, Lausanne);
(3) The control of bio-inspired artificial microswimmers - `artificial bacteria'- with promising applications in non-invasive medicine (Collaborators: Joshua Giltinan, Wendong Wang, Mettin Sitti, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart).


  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Mathematical Modelling
  • Microfluidics
  • Biophysics
  • Bacterial motility
  • Engineering Design


  • Salmonella
  • Bacteriophage
  • Escherichia coli


  • Mathematical modelling

Key Publications

  • Micro-Tug-of-War: A Selective Control Mechanism for Magnetic SwimmersP. Katsamba and E. Lauga, Phys. Rev. Applied 5, 064019, 2016 (Editor’s Suggestion). 
  • Hydrodynamics of bacteriophage migration along bacterial flagellaP. Katsamba and E.Lauga (submitted). 
  • Adaptive locomotion of artificial microswimmers, Hen-Wei Huang, Fazil Emre Uslu, P. Katsamba, Qianwen Chao, Eric Lauga, Mahmut Selman Sakar, and Bradley J. Nelson (submitted).
  • Propulsion by stiff elastic filaments in viscous fluidsP. Katsamba and E. Lauga (in preparation).