Wednesday, November 1, 2023 10am to 11am
About this Event
1120 NW 14th St, Miami, FL 33136
Microbial interactions have a vital role in human health and disease. In the vagina, lactobacillus bacteria inhibit strict anaerobes while microbial imbalances may result in recurrent bacterial vaginosis. In the nasopharynx, the human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae (Spn) asymptomatically colonizes as a commensal, yet disseminates to the blood, brain, ear, and lungs to cause disease. Although infection is often detected at the macroscale, bacteria first colonize and interact with members of their community at high local densities at the microscale before the infection progresses to a detectable level. To investigate how bacteria interact at the microscale, I adapted and implemented a microfluidic platform that enables high-parallel cultivation of bacteria to dissect and characterize microbial interactions. Cultivation takes place in aqueous droplets suspended in oil emulsion, creating thousands of monodisperse mini-bioreactors. This technology enables measurement of cell density and assessment of the effect of environmental cues on signaling at the single-cell and population levels, as well as the role of heterogeneity as it emerges within and across populations. The work will inform how cell-cell communication contributes to disease, and will help develop new diagnostics and therapeutics.
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