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IQSE AMO/QO Physics Seminar Series

"Continuing Delbrück’s quest: visualization of bacterial cell lysis with fluorescent videomicroscopy"

Ry Young
Texas A&M University


Modern phage biology was founded by physicists, led by Nobelist Max Delbrück, in the 1940s. He was the “Pope” of the “Phage Church”, whose acolytes were trained in the Phage Course held each summer at the Cold Spring Harbor laboratory. The unifying notion was the reductionist principle should be applied to biology, making phages the moral equivalent of the hydrogen atom. Everyone pledged to focus on phage to learn the fundamental principles underlying life, especially genetic inheritance and self-replication. There was also a mystic thread, springing from Bohr’s famous Light and Life talk of 1932, suggesting that there were fundamental principles of biology yet undiscovered and imaginable only by applying the concept of complementarity. My talk focuses on how, at the end of the infection cycle, phages effect lysis of the host bacterial cell to release the progeny virions. Emphasis will be placed on evidence obtained by videomicroscopy and fluorescence studies. Since this is an interdisciplinary talk, there will be heavy use of cartoons and movies and an open invitation to physicists to re-engage in the phage story.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
IQSE Seminar Room, 12:00 Noon
(578 MPHY)

Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering
Texas A&M University

Lunch (sandwich) will be served 15 minutes prior to start time