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Dr Munehiro Asally

Supervisor Details

Dr Munehiro Asally

Contact Details

Dr Munehiro Asally

School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick

Research Interests

I am interested in electrical signalling in biology. My recent research mainly focuses on bacterial electrophysiology at the population and single-cell levels.

Living systems are commonly perceived to be more unpredictable, softer, and fuzzier than electronics. But how do such behaviours manifest in biological systems? This is the fundamental question that I am interested in investigating. My research group develops new tools for rapid live cell detection and advances our understanding of bacterial signalling by combining molecular-biological, biophysical, and computational approaches.

Research group activity

  • Live cell detection. We have developed a novel technology that distinguishes between growing and non-growing cells. This technology can be used for detecting live cells for various purposes -e.g. contamination detection, diagnosis of pathogens, and microbial research. To commercialise this technology, we formed a spinout company, Cytecom Ltd.
  • Bioelectricity. Researchers, including us, are revising the view that bioelectrical signalling (such as neural signalling) is exclusive to animals. It has been revealed that even bacteria can use membrane potential dynamics for signalling. We study bacterial electrical signalling. We also develop tools for modulating bacterial membrane potential using electricity and light.
  • Spores. Bacterial spores are an intriguing form of life that is both living and non-living. They can survive in extreme conditions, such as heat, cold, drought, UV, and even extra-terrestrial space. Understanding spores is important not only for understanding the difference between living and non-living but also for future terraformation. We are particularly interested in the bioelectrical dynamics during the formation of spores and the germination of spores into live-growing cells.
  • Emergent dynamics. Emergent behaviour is one of the characteristic features of living systems. Biological systems frequently exhibit behaviours that cannot be fully explained by reductionism. For example, biofilms can withstand lethal antibiotic doses for individual cells. We are interested in understanding and exploiting the collective dynamics of bacterial biofilms and swarms.

Project Details

Dr Asally is supervisor on the below projects:

Previous Projects

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