Institute for the Physics of Living Systems


IPLS Seminar - Prof. Rosalind Allen (University of Edinburgh)

09 May 2018, 11:00 am


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UCL (MRC Building, LMCB, 2nd Floor Seminar Room)

Title: Spatial structure formation in growing bacterial biofilms

Abstract: Biofilms, or dense aggregates of surface-attached bacteria, are important causes of chronic, hard-to-treat infections and may be the predominant form of life on Earth. In lab experiments, and in models, it is usually assumed that biofilm growth starts from isolated bacterial cells. We show, using experiments and computer simulations, that the formation of biofilm spatial structure can happen very differently if growth is initiated from preformed aggregates, such as are often present in bacterial suspensions. We have further investigated, using simulations, the "phase diagram" of biofilm spatial structure as a function of the growth conditions. This phase diagram seems to be very rich, with interesting implications for genetic diversity in biofilms and evolution of traits such as potential antibiotic resistance.