We have traditionally based Microbiology in the observation of microorganisms at a population level, assuming that all the elements in that population behave the same. However, this is not true, as recent advances have shown that genetically identical bacterial cells in a well-mixed environment may have individually differing phenotypes. The physicists have develop tools to study all this properly, using a combination of individual-based modeling and experimentation approach. Since several years by now, we have been collaborating with MOSIMBIO (Discrete Modelling and Simulation of Biological Systems group, from the UPC University), comprising physicists, mathematicians, biologists and agronomists that investigate topics on microbiology from an interdisciplinary perspective. With them, we have become aware and familiar of the usefulness of physics in our research domain: tuberculosis. The collaboration is challenging and has proven to be fruitful (sharing several publications together). We are keen of this shared work and we do believe physicists can help health-scientists to understand a lot of processes and to contextualize their work.
Do you want to understand more? If yes, please read this interesting article published on PNAs: “Mighty small: Observing and modeling individual microbes becomes big science”, in which our colleague and friend Dr. Clara Prats participated.