Throughout evolutionary history, life has explored the laws of physics, creating remarkable new strategies to perpetuate itself. Our group seeks to understand how these strategies arise, using microbial populations as a model. We are interested in how the physical and chemical environment influences microbes, and how these microbes in turn engineer that very environment. In particular, we study how bacterial biofilms change their local conditions by producing extracellular matrix and how cell-to-cell signals drive such behaviors. We probe theoretical models of these phenomena with the goal of building toward an emergent understanding of living matter.
Our group also has specific interest in how electrophysiology influences the behavior of bacteria, including through cell-to-cell communication, and control of both metabolism and gene expression.
To investigate these problems, we use time-lapse imaging and custom experimental devices to observe and probe microbial behaviors in space and time.
- Zhai XL, Larkin J, Kikuchi K, Redford SE, Ushasi R, Süel GM, Mugler A (2019) Statistics of correlated percolation in a bacterial community. PLoS Comput. Biol. 15 (12): e1007508.
- Larkin J, Zhai XL, Kikuchi K, Redford SE, Prindle A, Liu J, Greenfield S, Walczak AM, Garcia-Ojalvo J, Mugler A, and Süel G (2018) Signal Percolation within a Bacterial Community. Cell Syst. 7: 1-9.
- Larkin J, Henley RY, Jadhav V, Korlach J, and Wanunu M (2017) Length-independent DNA packing into nanopore zero-mode waveguides for low-input DNA sequencing. Nat. Nanotechnol. 12: 1169–1175.
- Liu J, Martinez-Corral R, Prindle A, Lee DYD, Larkin J, Gabalda-Sagarra M, Garcia-Ojalvo J, and Süel GM (2017) Coupling between distant biofilms and emergence of nutrient time-sharing. Science 356: 638-642.
- Ivankin A, Henley RY, Larkin J, Carson S, Toscano M, and Wanunu M (2014) Label-Free Optical Detection of Biomolecular Translocation through Nanopore Arrays. ACS Nano. 8: 10774-10781.
- Larkin J, Foquet M, Turner SW, Korlach J, and Wanunu M (2014) Reversible Positioning of Single Molecules inside Zero-Mode Waveguides. Nano Lett. 14: 6023-6029.
- Larkin J, Henley R, Muthukumar M, Rosenstein JK, and Wanunu M (2014) High-Bandwidth Protein Analysis Using Solid-State Nanopores. Biophys. J. 106: 696-704.