Events Calendar

Download as iCal file
Physical Chemistry Seminar: Dr. Jing Yan
Friday, September 08, 2017, 12:00pm - 01:00pm

YanDr. Jing Yan

Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University

Friday, September 8, 2017

12:00PM, Proteomics 120

"Biophysical Principles of Biofilm Formation"

Biofilms are surface-associated bacterial communities embedded in an extracellular
matrix. Biofilm cells are more resistant to antibiotics than their planktonic counterparts,
which is a major problem in the context of chronic infections. Investigations so far have
focused on the genetic and regulatory features driving biofilm formation. However, still
lacking is a fundamental biophysical understanding of how bacteria, in time and space,
build these three-dimensional structures that attach to surfaces and resist mechanical and
chemical perturbations.

In this talk, I will present our recent progresses in understanding
the biophysical principles of biofilm formation using Vibrio cholerae (the causal agent of
cholera) as the model organism. We developed the first technology capable of imaging
three-dimensional, living, growing biofilms with single-cell resolution. By combining the
single-cell imaging technology with molecular genetics and biochemistry, we discovered
how bacteria build biofilms cell by cell and how the biofilm architecture is influenced by
specific matrix components and by external stimuli including osmotic pressure differences
and fluctuations in nutrients. We also established platforms to measure biofilm material
properties such as shear modulus and surface adhesion strength, and based on these
mechanical data, we developed a new biofilm removal and transfer technology. Our
ultimate goal is provide a comprehensive understanding of how bacteria, given their
limited material choices and energy constraints, cooperate in space and time to synthesize
a unique, living soft material: the biofilm.