Condensed Matter of Life and Death

Dr. Peter Yunker (hosted by Zohar Nussinov), Department of Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta
February 19, 2018 at 4:00 pm
241 Compton
Event Description 

Most bacteria live in surface attached communities known as biofilms; the spatial structure of a biofilm confers advantages to its member-cells, such as antibiotic resistance, and is strongly affected by competition between strains and taxa. However, a complete picture of how competition affects the self-organized structure of these complex, far-from-equilibrium systems, is yet to emerge. Here we describe a class of self-organization that operates within densely packed bacterial populations. Through physical modelling and experiments with Vibrio cholerae, we show how killing adjacent competitors via the Type VI secretion system (T6SS) precipitates phenomena reminiscent of condensed matter, such as phase separation via the ‘Model A' universality class of order-disorder transition – typically associated with coarsening in the Ising model – and an effective fluctuation-response relationship.


Coffee:  3:45 pm, 241 Compton