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Title: Mechanical forces drive the development of bacterial communities
Authors: Fei, Chenyi
Advisors: BasslerWingreen, BonnieNed LS
Contributors: Quantitative Computational Biology Department
Keywords: Biofilm
Mechanical instability
Vibrio cholerae
Subjects: Biophysics
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Living organisms grow into intricate three-dimensional shapes during development. The formation of biological shapes, i.e., morphogenesis, must follow the laws of mechanics. In this thesis, I use Vibrio cholerae as my model organism and investigate how mechanical forces drive the collective morphogenic transformations of bacterial communities called biofilms (Chapter 1). Combining quantitative imaging, biomaterial characterization, and mechanical modeling, I first show that a wrinkling instability of mechanical origin triggers biofilm morphogenesis and determines the characteristic spacing of biofilm surface pattern (Chapter 2). By studying a chemomechanical model of biofilm development, I find that nonuniform growth and friction are key determinants of the buildup of mechanical compression and the resultant biofilm morphodynamics (Chapter 3). I then investigate post-wrinkling biofilm morphogenesis, finding that a delamination instability creates biofilm blisters and that interfacial energies control the sequential dynamics of biofilm blisters (Chapter 4). Finally, by comparing the observed dynamics of small-scale biofilm shape development with mechanical models, I highlight that friction determines the biofilm leading angle and drives a fountain-like cellular flow to promote lateral biofilm expansion (Chapter 5). Collectively, these results connect the shaping of a biofilm with its material properties and its mechanical interaction with the environment. Understanding this relationship will aid the development of novel strategies to target biofilm mechanics, as means to selectively enhance or suppress biofilm formation.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Quantitative Computational Biology

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