Ana Carpio (04/07/14)

Benedikt Magnússon, July 2, 2014

Math Colloquium

Speaker: Ana Carpio, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
Title: The shape of biofilms

Location: V-158, VRII
Time: Friday, July 4, 14:00-15:00.


Biofilms are bacterial aggregates attached to moist surfaces that are able to survive in extreme conditions and are uncommonly resistant to antibiotics and disinfectants. They play an important role in many medical, ecological and industrial problems. Depending on the bacterial strain and the environmental conditions, biofilms may adopt different structures and expand in different ways. A rich variety of patterns is observed: streamers, ripples, fingers, wrinkled films… The evolution of these multicellular systems is governed by coupled cellular, chemical and mechanical processes acting on multiple scales. We propose a hybrid stochastic-continuum description of biofilm evolution. Cells perform different tasks according to probability laws informed by the status of continuum concentration and mechanical fields, governed by Navier-Stokes and elasticity equations. We apply this strategy to two model systems: Biofilms in flows and Biofilms on air/solid interfaces. Numerical simulations show qualitative agreement with experimental observations and provide insight on the factors controlling the dynamics of these bacterial aggregates.