Project Title: Bacterial decision-making: Exploring molecular switches of population dynamics
Summary: Bacteria survive in continuously fluctuating environmental conditions by fine-tuning cellular physiology to complement a given environment. To achieve this, the cell's proteomic nature is adjusted for a desired physiological output by altering gene expression. Research has revealed an unprecedented level of phenotypic diversity in populations of genetically identical cells which reside in a homogeneous environment. Therefore, it is imperative to explore the molecular switch determining whether group or individual behaviour is adopted in populations of genetically identical cells. Exploring the molecular switch in bacterial decision-making is essential as it is the fundamental mediator of cell-to-cell variability (noise). Hitherto, most studies have investigated the influence of transcription initiation events as a source of noise within a population. However, there is a global lack of understanding regarding the impact of post-initiation events on cell-to-cell variability. My PhD project aims to elucidate the influence of post-initiation gene regulatory mechanisms on noise, using single-cell and single-molecule techniques.