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Dr Munehiro Asally

Associate Professor


Phone: 024 765 72976

Office: MB17

Twitter: @munelectroLink opens in a new window

Research Clusters

Quantitative, Systems & Engineering Biology

Microbiology & Infectious disease

Warwick Centres and GRPs

Warwick Integrative Synthetic Biology Centre

Warwick Antimicrobial Interdisciplinary Centre

Vacancies and Opportunities

For PhD and postdoctoral opportunities, and interest in potential collaborations, please contact me at the above email address.

I am interested in electrical signalling in biology. My recent research mainly focuses on bacterial electrophysiology at the population and single-cell levels. I co-founded Cytecom Ltd to commercialise some of the bacterial electrophysiology research for live-cell detection and antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST).

My research is interdisciplinary. It combines experimental and computational approaches, including molecular cloning, fluorescence microscopy, time-lapse imaging, quantitative image analysis, and computational modelling. I collaborate with researchers with expertise in active-matter physics, non-linear physics, neuroscience, material science, electrochemistry, organic chemistry and robotic engineering.

Keywords: Biophysics, Bioelectricity, Synthetic Biology, Quantitative Biology, Physics of Life


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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.


  • PhD, Osaka University, Japan, 2007
  • MSc, Osaka University, Japan, 2004
  • BSc, Osaka City University, Japan, 2002

Professional Experiences

  • Associate Professor, University of Warwick, UK, 2019-present
  • Assistant Professor, University of Warwick, UK, 2014-2019
  • Assistant Project Scientist, University of California San Diego, CA, 2012-2014
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Texas Southwestern, TX, 2009-2012
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Osaka University, Japan, 2007-2009