April 21, 2021

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

Part of the Imperial Festival podcast series: Senja Barthel uses mathematics to discover more about knots …




The Imperial Festival ran Friday 3 May to Saturday 4 May and attracted over 10,000 visitors. I, Science went along and talked to some of the scientists demonstrating their work.

In this episode, Senja Barthel from the Department of Mathematics discusses how observing knots in nature, as well as the spaces left by knots called knot complements, can have a range of uses.

One application is targeting the enzymes that clean up knotty DNA in bacteria. Without these enzymes the bacterial DNA would quickly tie itself into knots that are too tight to resolve which would kill the bacteria, so this could be a new source of antibacterial treatment.