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Feb 6 2023

2/6 – Petia Vlahovska, Northwestern

CBQB Seminar (in-person event)

February 6, 2023

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


COMRB 8175


909 S Wolcott Ave, Chicago, IL 60612

This is an in-person event in room COMRB 8175 on west campus (directions).  You can also watch seminar live here>>


Petia Vlahovska, PhD
Professor of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics (by courtesy) Mechanical Engineering
Northwestern University


Are cell membranes electrorheological fluids?


Living cells maintain electric potential difference across the plasma membrane as well as the membranes of various organelles. Using giant vesicles as an in-vitro membrane model system, my group explores the effects of electric field on membrane mechanical properties. In this talk, I will overview some of our recent experiments that suggest that bilayers do not behave as simple two-dimensional fluids as commonly assumed but their viscosity may be modulated by electric fields.  We find that membrane viscosity decreases with increasing electric field magnitude, while membrane electric polarization has the opposite effect. The potential impact of coupled endogenous electric fields and membrane fluidity on biological function opens an exciting new direction to explore.


UIC Biomedical Engineering

Date posted

Jan 18, 2023

Date updated

Jan 18, 2023