SciLifeLab The Svedberg seminar series, Rob Phillips

Monday November 9

Rob Phillips

Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology
California Institute of Technology, CA, USA

Rob Phillips is Professor of Biophysics and Biology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, and uses physical models to explore biological phenomena and construct experimental tests. Key areas of interest include the physics of genome management by viruses and cells, how transcriptional networks lead to regulatory decisions, and how the physical properties of lipid bilayers are tied to the behavior of ion channels. Professor Phillips is a  co-author of the textbooks “Physical Biology of the Cell” and “Cell Biology by the Numbers”.

How Schrodinger’s Cat Became a Cat

The early days of quantum mechanics culminated in great debates about the nature of physical reality leading to ideas such as Schrodinger’s famed cat and the possible existence of “hidden variables” that were missing from the quantum description of nature.  Here I will argue that Schrodinger’s cat may also have something to teach us about biology.  In particular, I will describe recent measurements on noise in gene expression and argue that in some cases this noisy expression is only apparent noise that disappears once some underlying hidden variables are discovered. This general idea will be illustrated through several specific case studies involving bacterial regulation and the induction of transcription factors.

Read more about Rob Phillips

Hosts: Martin Lindén and Johan Elf