Summary of Activities/Interests
Bacterial biofilms are surface-adhered communities of bacteria associated with clinical infections. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a model organism for biofilm formation because of its ubiquity in the environment, robust metabolism, and amenability for laboratory work. Understanding how P. aeruginosa colonizes different surfaces is essential because of its pervasiveness in the environment and growth on a variety of surfaces such as soil, water, medical plastics, metals, and industrial pipes. While it is known that P. aeruginosa utilizes both its flagellum and type IV pili (TFP) to form biofilms, little is known about how actual biofilm assembly occurs after the first few cells attach to surfaces. Such knowledge would be applicable to both promote “good” and prevent “harmful” biofilm growth. My research focuses on how motility impacts biofilm formation of P. aeruginosa and the conditions required for bacterial walking. Understanding why P. aeruginosa forms a biofilm and how bacterial motility controls surface colonization can be used in aspects in the commercial, medical, and environmental fields. Currently I am looking at the effects of calcium on TFP motility and biofilm formation.
B.S., Creighton University 2010