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KC Huang probes basic questions of bacterial life

The theorist turned experimentalist takes a cross-disciplinary perspective

By
1:50pm, October 4, 2017
KC Huang

“My motivating questions are about understanding the physical challenges bacterial cells face,” says Kerwyn Casey Huang.

KC Huang, 38
Physicist
Stanford University

Physicists often ponder small things, but probably not the ones on Kerwyn Casey “KC” Huang’s mind. He wants to know what it’s like to be a bacterium.

“My motivating questions are about understanding the physical challenges bacterial cells face,” he says. Bacteria are the dominant life-forms on Earth. They affect the health of plants and animals, including humans, for good and bad. Yet scientists know very little about the rules the microbes live by. Even questions as basic as how bacteria determine their shape are still up in the air, says Huang, of Stanford University.

Huang, 38, is out to change that. He and colleagues have determined

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