Biofilm simulation series: QS+ and EPS+ cells

Nadell et al. 2008D Nadell, Carey; B Xavier, João; A Levin, Simon; R Foster, Kevin (2008): The Evolution of Quorum Sensing in Bacterial Biofilms. Video_S1.mov.PLOS Biology. 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060014.sv001.

If biofilm formation is simulated beginning with a mixed population of quorum sensing  sensitive (QS+) and extracellular matrix producing (EPS+) cells, as autoducer levels rise (shown as blue gradations from below) above a critical threshold, QS+ cells stop producing matrix and shift their metabolism towards biomass production.  This leads to bursts of growth in cells exposed to maximum nutrient levels at the top of tower structures during the later stages of biofilm development.

Harvard MSI symposium

2014 Harvard MSI symposium

I went to the annual Harvard Microbial Sciences Initiative symposium today for the forth year in a row. There are always some great talks at this event.

Harvard MSI is very much centered around microbial communities and social microbiology.  There were many great speakers but I was particularly interested in a talk about about swarming in Proteus mirabilis.

Proteus mirabilis is able to self-recognize cells of the same species using surface-bound proteins and differentiates into hyper-motile large swarming cells able to glide over solid surfaces.

Richard Dawkins at UConn

I have seen Richard Dawkins speak before, but today he came all the way to the UConn campus. His discussion with one of the UConn deans covered many topics–a nice change from a rehearsed talk.  Afterwards I had him sign this flask, since all of my Dawkins books are already signed!

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The Jorgensen Auditorium at UConn was filled to capacity.