Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Deciphering biophysical principles for the design and application of complex bacterial communities
Authors: Ott, Jenna Anne
Advisors: Datta, Sujit S
Contributors: Chemical and Biological Engineering Department
Keywords: Biofilm formation
Heterogeneous microbial communities
Microbe-chemical interactions
Microbial communities
Microbial dispersal
Subjects: Biophysics
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Bacteria are ubiquitous in both our body and the environment, and most often exist in complex communities. These bacterial communities can serve positive purposes, such as in bioremediation, in which bacteria can find and degrade groundwater contaminants. They can also serve negative purposes, such as implantable device-related infection, in which biofilms grow on the surface of implanted medical devices. In all such relevant applications, bacteria develop a heterogeneous, complex community that varies spatially. However, we typically study these bacterial communities in well-mixed, liquid conditions, thereby eliminating spatial complexities. Here, we explore how spatial and temporal heterogeneity in chemical gradients, bacterial species, and bacterial phenotypes influences community function and behavior using a combination of simulations and experiments. Specifically, we consider ``pockets" of nutrients and investigate how the spacing between sources impacts bacterial motility. Additionally, we consider how a self-generated oxygen gradient can support multi-species communities of aerobic bacteria, which consume oxygen, and anaerobic bacteria, which die in the presence of oxygen. Finally, we develop the first system of equations that captures the phenotypic transition from free-swimming, planktonic bacteria to a sessile biofilm community. In all such studies, we develop minimal biophysical models to not only predict bacterial community composition, but also to design communities for future applications in human health and our environment.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Chemical and Biological Engineering

Files in This Item:
This content is embargoed until 2024-09-28. For questions about theses and dissertations, please contact the Mudd Manuscript Library. For questions about research datasets, as well as other inquiries, please contact the DataSpace curators.

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.