Things Fall Apart; The Bacterial Cluster Cannot Hold

About a recent paper from my lab: Deepika Sundarraman, T. Jarrod Smith, Jade V. Z. Kast, Karen Guillemin, and Raghuveer Parthasarathy, “Disaggregation as an interaction mechanism among intestinal bacteria,” Biophysical Journal (2022). Some bacteria stick together; others do not. We have seen these variations among bacteria inside the zebrafish gut, and it’s probably the case … Continue reading Things Fall Apart; The Bacterial Cluster Cannot Hold

How are tears like salad dressing? — What is biophysics? #9

In a charming letter published in 1774, Benjamin Franklin described an experiment in which he had poured “not more than a teaspoonful” of oil onto a pond, which he found sufficient to calm the water despite a choppy wind. What, you may be wondering, connects Franklin, ponds, tears, and salad dressing? In the last “What … Continue reading How are tears like salad dressing? — What is biophysics? #9

Can you see single photons? — What is biophysics? #6

The realization that electromagnetic waves are quantized — that light interacts in discrete packets — marked the beginning of quantum mechanics. Whether this fundamental attribute of the physical world sets the performance limits of human vision is a fascinating biophysical question. It’s so fascinating that Bill Bialek’s excellent graduate-level biophysics textbook begins with it, and … Continue reading Can you see single photons? — What is biophysics? #6

Why is your heart on your left side? (Or is it?) — What is biophysics? #4

The fourth in a series of biophysical questions (one, two, three). If you put your hand on your chest you’ll probably realize that your heart is a bit left-of-center. Or perhaps not: about one in 10,000 people have their heart on the right. No one’s heart lies exactly on the body’s midline, nor does anyone’s … Continue reading Why is your heart on your left side? (Or is it?) — What is biophysics? #4