Directed migration of Physarum polycephalum: Excitability and force traction measurement

  • Mark Nolan P. Confesor Department of Physics, Mindanao State University–Iligan Institute of Technology


Physarum polycephalum (Physarum), also called the slime mold, is a protist that currently serves as the model system for decentralized Biological organisms. Directed migration of the Physarum results in the formation of a network of interconnected protoplasmic tubes. The intersection of the tubes is referred to as nodes. We have shown that the nodes can be used as an observable to the directed migration of Physarum. Furthermore, the total number of nodes is found to be controlled and exhibit spike like dynamics as expected for an excitable system. Moreover, agent-based lattice simulations support our hypothesis that the nodes also act as sensing components to an underlying control oscillator. Lastly, we present a much-detailed 3D motility measurement of the Physarum directed migration and its associated force traction measurement. A modified active trap model was able to capture the force generation dynamics of the Physarum.

About the Speaker

Mark Nolan P. Confesor is a Professor of Physics at MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology. He is also the Program Lead of the Complex Systems Program at PRISM of the same University. He is the Principal Investigator of the Soft Matter and Biological Physics Laboratory, which he started back in 2013. Dr. Confesor received his Ph.D. Physics at the National Central University in Taiwan, working on Non-Equilibrium phoretic transport. Through the years and with grant supports from various Institutions, he has mentored 1 Ph.D. Physics, 19 MS Physics, 3 MS Biology, and more than 28 BS Physics students working on non-Equilibrium aspects of Soft Matter and Biological Systems. He has taught extensively since 2004 on varied subjects in basic and advance Physics for undergraduate and graduate courses. As a member of the SPVM BOD and its President before, he has helped initiate and successfully conducted many trainings, workshops and scientific conferences throughout the country to help build a strong and robust scientific culture. Dr. Confesor was part of Philippine Delegation that visited many Universities and Scientific Organizations abroad to help craft the National Agenda of the Philippine Government. He was Chairman of the Department of Physics of MSU-IIT from SY 2015-2016. He was elected as the Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics of MSU-IIT from SY 2016-2019. As Dean, he represented Mindanao in the DOST-SEI National Science Council. His term as Dean resulted in the offering of more Graduate Research programs, 80% of Faculty having research grants, increased number of Faculty having PhD degrees, increased number of scholarship grants, opening of the new Marine Science Department and the appropriation of public land and budget for the Marine Science Building among others.

How to Cite
M. N. Confesor. Directed migration of Physarum polycephalum: Excitability and force traction measurement, Proceedings of the Samahang Pisika ng Pilipinas 38, SPP-2020-INV-4F-01 (2020). URL: