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Sticking together: How bacterial collectives (re)shape themselves

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MMVW03 - Measures and Representations of Interactions

Bacteria are arguably the simplest form of life; and yet, as multi-cellular collectives, they perform complex functions critical to environment, food, health, and industry. How? In this talk, I will describe my group’s work addressing this question using tools from soft matter engineering, 3D imaging, and biophysical modeling. We have developed the ability to (i) directly visualize bacteria from the scale of a single cell to that of an entire multi-cellular collective, (ii) 3D-print precisely structured collectives, and (iii) model their large-scale motion and growth in complex environments. Using this approach, we are developing new ways to predict and control how bacterial collectives — and potentially other forms of “active matter” — spread large distances, adapt shape to resist perturbations, and self-regulate growth to access more space by processing chemical information in their local environments. 

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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