School of Mathematics

Martin Howard

Martin Howard abstract

Martin Howard, Dept of Systems Biology, John Innes Centre

“How cells get to be the right size and put things at the right place inside them”

In this talk I will discuss two problems, which surprisingly turn out to be connected. The first is how fission yeast cells control their size. I will propose a theory that explains how this can be performed via an effective measurement of the plasma membrane surface area. Predictions from this theory are then successfully tested. The second problem is how low copy number plasmids in bacteria are equally spaced throughout the cell, thereby leading to equal partitioning at cell division. I will present a simple mechanism based on competitive pulling that can explain this phenomena and which has again made experimentally verified predictions.