Institute for the Physics of Living Systems


IOP Tom Duke Prize Lecture on Biological Physics - Prof. Robert Endres (Imperial College London)

18 September 2019, 3:00 pm–5:00 pm

Robert Endres

Title: Physics of chemo-sensing by bacteria

Event Information

Open to





E28 Harrie Massey Lecture Theatre
25 Gordon Street

Abstract: Despite their minuscule size, bacteria achieve feats of engineering with impressive evolutionary designs. This interest has also translated into a number of seminal theoretical works. In 1977, Howard Berg and Edward Purcell viewed the cell as a small measuring device, and estimated its sensing accuracy from molecular diffusion. In 1999, Tom Duke and Dennis Bray wondered how cells achieve their high sensitivity to detect small changes in stimuli, and considered Ising-like receptor cluster models to explain signal amplification. More recently, the development of new measurement technologies such as in vivo FRET and super-resolution imaging led to a renaissance in modelling efforts to describe signal amplification, integration, and precise adaptation, as well as information flow in the pathway from receptors to flagellated rotary motors. In this lecture, I will describe previous and my own explorations into bacterial chemo-sensing, with a number of fundamental unsolved problems remaining. Solving these questions will further our understanding of pathogenic infections and aid the design of novel high-sensitivity biosensors.

About the Speaker

Dr. Robert Endres

at Imperial College London

More about Dr. Robert Endres