"Cooperation and competition for space in bacterial biofilms"
This event is part of the Biophysics Seminars. 12:30PM.
Given the opportunity, many bacterial species colonize surfaces and produce intricate multicellular communities, termed biofilms. These cell groups are embedded in a secreted polymer matrix that confers nutrient-scavenging versatility and resistance to external threats. Biofilm growth is a central feature of microbial natural history and bacteria-human interactions, but we are still in the early stages of discovering ecological principles of biofilm assembly. My group uses concepts and techniques from ecology, evolutionary biology, molecular genetics, and confocal microscopy to understand how and why biofilms obtain their structure and composition. Here I will relate several projects linking the secreted matrix to cooperation, competition, and succession in populations of bacterial pathogens. I will also discuss a new system for visualizing the spatial spread of bacterial viruses through biofilms. This framework promises novel insight into bacteria-bacteriophage coevolution and the development of new microbial community manipulation strategies.