For the Measure for Measure project, Sabaï Ramedhan Levi collaborates with Dr. Ariel B. Lindner, a researcher director at the French national biomedical research institute (INSERM). He is the co-founder of the Centre for Research and Interdisciplinarity (CRI) at Paris Descartes University.
Ariel was awarded a PhD (Weizmann Institute, Israel) for his work at the interface of Chemistry and Immunology and joined INSERM after being hosted at the MRC (Cambridge, UK) and the Scripps institute (La Jolla, USA). His research over the past 10 years is based on applying systems and synthetic biology approaches to the understanding of variability amongst individuals, of ageing and of cellular architecture.
The obvious fact that we are all different from each other is largely attributed to the almost infinite combinations between our unique genes and environment. Yet, much of our understanding of the mechanisms underlying living systems is based on studies of large populations, leading to a common assumption that the characteristics of each individual follows that of the overall crowd. Are identical living beings – perfect genetic clones living in exactly the same environment – truly identical?
This question underlies Ariel’s research efforts. Working with a bacteria called Escherichia coli, he investigates the emergence of differences between genetically identical individuals in a well-controlled environment by filming them through a microscope as they undergo many generations of divisions. The picture that emerges is that of large differences in the genetically identical bacteria’s ability to grow, reproduce and to tackle problems and stress. Looking inside the cells enables him to study the causes and consequences of these differences.
In the Measure for Measure project, we attempt to quantify and understand the differences among human individuals within our calibrated environment. While this experiment is infinitely more complex than the bacterial lab research, an analogous conceptual scientific framework can be applied to the data acquisition and analysis of the meter, gram and minute measures of the participants.