Princeton scientists bioengineer a cellular speedometer

Monday, May 13, 2019
by tdwyer

Princeton scientists bioengineer a cellular speedometer

Liz Fuller-Wright, Office of Communications, May 13, 2019 11 a.m.

An all-Princeton research team has identified bacteria that can detect the speed of flowing fluids.

Many kinds of cells can sense flow, just as our skin cells can feel the difference between a gentle breeze and a strong wind. But we depend on feeling the force involved, the push-back from the air against us. Without that push, we can’t distinguish speed; when the windows are closed, our skin can’t feel any difference in air force whether we are sitting in an office, a speeding car or a cruising airplane. But now, a team of Princeton researchers has discovered that some bacteria can in fact detect the speed of flow regardless of the force. Their paper appears in the online journal Nature Microbiology.

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