January 12, 2018
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Speaker: Jing Yan
Burroughs Wellcome Fellow, Princeton University
Title: "Building a home the V. cholerae way: biophysics of bacterial biofilms"
Biofilms are surface-associated bacterial communities embedded in an extracellular matrix. Bacterial biofilms can cause chronic infections and they clog pipes and filters in industry. Investigations to date have primarily focused on the genetic and regulatory features driving biofilm formation. In this seminar, I will discuss how I have used Vibrio cholerae as a model biofilm former to reveal the biophysical and biomechanical principles underlying biofilm formation. I will present a new technology to image living, growing bacterial biofilms at single-cell resolution. I will use this imaging technique to investigate how cell growth, cell-cell adhesion, and cell-surface adhesion, collectively, determine the global biofilm architecture. I will show how matrix production drives biofilm expansion and excludes cheater cells. Finally, I will discuss efforts to measure the material properties of biofilms. I will show how understanding biofilms as living materials enabled the development of methods for their removal.