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Effect of Curvature on Biofilm Growth

Ya-Wen Chang

The environment in which cells grow influences a multitude of cellular functions by providing chemical and physical signals that modulate cell behavior, dynamics, development, and eventually survival. How physical parameters of the extra-cellular environment, specifically the 3D nature influences multicellular structure developement remain poorly understood. We have developed a method to fabricate well defined curved surfaces that are sutible for growing cells. Using strcutrues such as spheres or torus, we investigate the role of curvature and geometric confinement on cell behavior at the multicell level.

Biofilm Growth on Planar and Curved Interfaces

Biofilms are surface-associatd colonies of cells, typically bacterium, embedded in a self-produced extracellular matrix. These bacterial communities are frequenty seen in nature, medical devices, and industrial settings, where they are responsible for bio-fouling. In this study, we grow biofilms in different confinment geometries including spherical and toroidal droplets. Using confocal microscopy, we monitor the growth of biofilms and quantify the mophology of matured biofilms developed on both flat and curved interfaces. With the variation of confinement geometry, we can identify the influence interface geometry have on biofilm architecture.

Fig. 1: Confocal z-stack images of B.subtilis biofilm in spherical (left) and toroidal (right) droplets with corresponding thickness maps.

Biofilm project: Alexandros Fragkopoulos, Harold Kim (Gatech), Thomas Angelini (University of Florida)

Soft Condensed Matter Laboratory, School of Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology
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alberto.fernandez [at] physics.gatech.edu