Presidential Visiting Fellow 2019-2020

July 30, 2019

Sarah Veatch, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biophysics and Physics, University of Michigan

Biographical Sketch

Sarah Veatch obtained her bachelor’s degree in physics from MIT, her PhD in physics from the University of Washington, and conducted her postdoctoral work at Cornell University in the department of chemistry and chemical biology. She is currently an Associate Professor of biophysics and physics and is the Associate Chair of biophysics at the University of Michigan. Sarah Veatch’s PhD work focused on mapping a then newly defined miscibility phase transition in purified lipid bilayers. In her postdoc, she identified that fluctuations observed near miscibility critical points in this system are consistent with belonging to the 2D Ising model Universality class. She also found that bilayer vesicles isolated from living cells exhibit similar critical behavior, indicating that cells biologically tune their membrane composition such that they reside near a critical point under growth conditions. The Veatch lab at the University of Michigan experimentally investigates roles for criticality in signaling pathways initiated within the plasma membranes of cells. She also uses and has developed super-resolution fluorescence localization microscopy methods to probe membrane mediated interactions in cell membranes.

Planned Activities

While visiting Yale in the Fall of 2019, Professor Veatch will work with her long-time collaborator Ben Machta on two recently funded projects. The first explores how ion channel function is modulated by heterogeneous membranes. The second explores coupling between 2D phase transitions in membranes and 3D phase transitions in polymers. In addition to working with Machta on theoretical aspects, Sarah looks forward to establishing new connections with experimentalists in other departments and programs.