The role of the biofilm matrix in the productivity and protection of bacterial communities bij Biologisk Institut - Københavns Universitet

Project type: Master

Bacteria are ubiquitous and essential for all life on earth. Bacterial communities affect everything from nutrient uptake in the bowels to the degradation of leaves in the fall. Traditionally, researchers studied bacteria as homogenous and uncoordinated populations of cells. Only recently has the view shifted to analyze bacteria as complex and heterogenous communities. Such communities are called biofilms. Researching how these community-based bacteria orchestrate their behavior has revolutionized the field of microbiology. Biofilms are embedded in an extracellular matrix which facilitates stable, close contact between cells, retention of enzymes and protection from predators.

When biofilms consist of multiple interacting species, community-intrinsic properties emerge. These properties would not occur if each species was living individually. At the Section of Microbiology, we use a four-species bacterial model community, which exhibits a large degree of synergy, to study this intriguing evolutionary phenomenon. We are especially interested in understanding how the community benefits from specific matrix components and which bacterial members produce them. To understand the dynamics between community members, the lab applies bioinformatic analyses, proteomics, genetic manipulation, various phenotypic assays, and advanced microscopy.

If you find this topic interesting, we can offer a flexible project where you will study the functional role of the matrix in single versus multi-species biofilms. The project can be tailored, so you focus on genetic manipulation or generation and analysis of omics data, depending on your interests. You will be part of a project team consisting of PhD students and post docs that will assist you when needed.

Contact information:

Supervisor: Associate professor Mette burmølle

Section of Microbiology
Universitetsparken 15, building 1, 1st floor
DK-2100 Copenhagen

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