The Dance of the LIpids:

BioS 041 is one of the lowest level bio class here at Lehigh and it focuses mainly on cells and their components and functions. It’s a requirement for a lot of majors, not just bioE, and is only offered in the spring. As a result, this class usually fills Packard to capacity. It has to be a challenge to keep over three hundred students interested in the lecture, but Professor Cassimeris did just that during last Wednesday’s lecture on lipids.

Every cell membrane is composed of a series of proteins and a bilayer of lipids, which are composed mostly of fatty acids. The organization of these lipids allow for the cell membrane to receive information from outside of the cell, transport materials from the inside and outside the cell, and allow the cell to travel. In order for all these things to happen and for the cell to survive, the lipid bilayer cannot be static. It must be able to move.

And what a better way to demonstrate movement than with dance…

Several volunteers came up on stage and, with Professor Cassimeris, demonstrated how lipids in a bilayer can laterally diffuse (move left and right), flex (move their tails aka legs), and rotate. Now hopefully for the next test, when asked about lipid movement I can remember people hopping around on stage rather than try and remember another book diagram.

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