Summary: Our group’s interests are within biological physics with a focus on metabolism and bioenergetics. Specifically, we are exploring the physical laws that govern energy flow through living systems, and how such processes depend on the surrounding environment. We then link such findings to cell physiology, function and adaptation. Our most common approach to this end is single cell analysis, which unmasks the strong heterogeneity (or biological noise) inherent in all forms of life. Our lab’s capabilities involve microfluidics, in essence plumbing with pipes with a diameter nearly 100 times smaller than that of a piece of hair. Another tool we commonly employ is quantitative microscopy, sensitive enough to observe individual molecule.

Minimum Classes: None required; basic biology or chemistry is preferred.

Projects: The INBRE fellow will be exposed to a wide variety of techniques, such as cell-culturing, cell staining and microfabrication. The project itself focuses on lipid metabolism, an intracellular process with profound implications in diseases, such as diabetes. Despite its significance, many unknowns still remain, namely how lipid biogenesis commences, at what rates does it progress and finally how it is regulated throughout cell growth. In its first phase, the project will start by quantifying lipid biogenesis in yeast using flow-cytometry. Subsequently, the project will proceed with advanced microscopy at the single cell level.

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