Skip to main content

Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society


The Reed That Bends
The Reed That Bends
Zeiss Elyra S1 Super Resolution Structured Illumination Microscope
Shahar Sukenik
Martin Gruebele Laboratory
Funded by the NSF

Scientists use sudden changes in the external environment of laboratory-grown cells like this one to probe the mechanical properties of cellular proteins and larger molecular machinery. When the concentrations of salts or other solutes are changed, the cell’s outer membrane is rapidly deformed, yet remarkably, the cell resumes function upon return to normal conditions. By studying how the complex structures inside the cell achieve this resilience, researchers hope to better understand their function in health and disease.