Miranda’s paper studying the effects of dietary fatty acids, EPA and DHA, on membrane elasticity is out in Biophysical Journal
1. This work was motivated by the bigger question of why these two fatty acids have different physiological effects (ex. cardiovascular, neurological) and what’s happening at the membrane level to potentially cause these changes.
2. Miranda performed a heroic amount of micropipette aspiration for this study and found that DHA increases lipid membrane elasticity (lowers area expansion modulus) relative to EPA, but only when cholesterol is present.
3. We performed lipidomics on our electroformed GUVs and surprisingly found a lot less fatty acid and cholesterol ends up in our membranes relative to our starting solutions. This was not completely unexpected, but still surprising.
4. Our results suggest the presence of cholesterol nanodomains may change the way a membrane stretches. Segregating the stiffening molecules may help a membrane stretch overall more than when the stiffening molecules are evenly distributed.
The last 3 cities Neha has moved to (Philadelphia, Boston, and now Chicago!) have won the World Series within the year! Go Cubs!