COMPLEX SYSTEMS SEMINAR
Single-Cell View of Bacterial Populations in Fluctuating Environments
By exposing cells to different fluctuations, and observing their behaviors, we would like to infer cellular mechanisms. To do this systematically, we developed a microfluidics device that allows up to fifty populations to be simultaneously tracked at single-cell resolution for many days under controlled fluctuations. This talk describes our recent experiments on bacterial populations exposed to periodic sugar fluctuations. The ability to obtain detailed lineage data motivates a general theoretical analysis. Populations can be described as collections of individual histories observed over fluctuating conditions. The statistical properties of this ensemble provide a powerful tool to distinguish individual response mechanisms from population-level selection.