Scientists Meet Scientists – Wednesday Coffee Talk by Prof. Dr. Ulrich Gerland on “The Physiology of Survival”

Professor Ernst Rank and the TUM-IAS team invite the scientists of TUM and their guests for coffee each Wednesday. Just come over to the TUM-IAS after lunch between 1:00–2:00 pm and have a coffee with us, meet other scientists and listen to a short talk (10-15 mins) on a recent major TUM publication or issue – aimed specifically at a non-expert audience.

On January 22, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Gerland (TUM Department of Physics) will give a talk entitled “The Physiology of Survival”. Professor Gerland and his team emulated an emergency situation in cells of the bacterium Escherichia Coli, in which the bacteria were lacking sugar and other carbohydrates. The bacteria therefore had neither energy nor building materials available. As the first cells died, the surviving cells tried to gain nutrients from the surrounding cell cadavers. The higher the energy turnover of a certain enzyme, the greater was the rate of mortality. The more they were able to recycle from dead cells, the higher was the rate of survival. These findings from Professor Gerland and his team make it possible to quantitatively determine the contributions of individual molecular components to the survival of bacterial cells, for the first time.


Death rate of E. coli during starvation is set by maintenance cost and biomass recycling. Severin J. Schink, Elena Biselli, Constantin Ammar, Ulrich Gerland – Cell Systems, July 17, 2019. DOI: 10.1016/j.cels.2019.06.003.


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An overview on upcoming and past Wednesday Coffee Talks can be found at the Wednesday Coffee Talk Overview.