Studying motility to investigate the physiology of starving bacteria

Condensed Matter lunchtime seminar

Studying motility to investigate the physiology of starving bacteria

  • Event time: 1:00pm until 2:00pm
  • Event date: 13th December 2021
  • Speaker: (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
  • Location: Room 2511, and Zoom

Event details

Outside of the lab, bacteria spend most of their life in non-growing states; however, most of our knowledge about bacteria comes from experiments performed with model culturesgrowing exponentially in nutrient-rich conditions. Comparatively much less is known about non-growing cells, and a better understanding of bacterial physiology during starvation is likely to help tackle challenges such as antimicrobial resistance. After giving a basic introduction to bacterial metabolism for physicists, I will present our recent experiments performed to study the motility of starving suspensions of Escherichia coli. Using differential dynamic microscopy, we find that the swimming speed of the suspensions gradually decays with time, with significant variability between individual cells. I will discuss how these measurements can be used to probe the energetic state of starving cells and provide insight on the physics of dying.

About Condensed Matter lunchtime seminars

This is a weekly series of informal talks given primarily by members of the soft condensed matter and statistical mechanics groups, but is also open to members of other groups and external visitors. The aim of the series is to promote discussion and learning of various topics at a level suitable to the broad background of the group. Everyone is welcome to attend..

Find out more about Condensed Matter lunchtime seminars.