Special biophysics seminar today hosted by my fellow prof. Matt Ferguson and presented by his former postdoc advisor Ralph Nossal on subtle changes in the properties of lipids as a function of temperature.
Dr. Nossal reviewed research by himself, Dr. Norman Gershfeld, and others going back to the 40s showing how the physical properties of lipids, including surface pressure and diffusivity, depend sensitively on their temperatures. Diffusivity, for example, for many biogenic and synthetic lipid solutions peak at very specific temperatures.
What’s so special about those temperatures? Nossal pointed out that they correspond very nearly to the body temperatures of the organisms in which the lipids are found. So this subtle behavior could be the result of biological tuning of the lipids to optimize their chemical behavior in their host organisms.