..and about the science:
In recent years, we have developed a new method for investigating complicated processes in large cell libraries; we call it DµMPING. With the help of DµMPLING, we can make thousands of genetic changes and examine the effect on DNA replication, cell division, and other dynamic processes in the cell. In this project, we will use the DµMPLING to assess how DNA is organized during the bacterial cell cycle. We address the general question of whether the chromosome is just a one-dimensional storage unit for genetic information, or whether the physical location impact gene expression. We also want to answer the seemingly simple question of how a cell determines when it should begin copying its DNA for the next cell division. We have previously shown that the cell initiates replication when it has reached a specific volume per chromosome. Still, repeated attempts by many different research groups have failed to show how this control is successfully implemented in the cell. Attacking the mechanism is not just like looking for a needle in a haystack; the haystack is continually moving. Hopefully, DµMPLING will become the key to the missing pieces in these fundamental scientific puzzles.