Title: Modeling Bacterial Biofilms
David Chopp (Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics, J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management)
(February 21, 2008 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM)
Bacterial Biofilms are the most ubiquitous form of life on the planet: more than 90% of bacteria live in aggregations called biofilms. Biofilms are primary cause for deaths of people with Cycstic Fibrosis, cause Legionairre's disease, are a major source of nosocomial infections, damage ships, and clog fluid based industrial and food processing machinery causing billions of dollars of damage annually. Biofilms are also used to improve performance of fertilizers, to manufacture many household products, and to clean industrial runoff. Biofilms exhibit complex behavior such as varying surface morphology, cell-to-cell communication, and symbiotic relationships. Consequently, it is important for many reasons to understand the formation, growth, and characteristics of bacterial biofilms so that they can be inhibited where they are undesirable and controlled where they are used to our advantage. In this talk I will discuss our work on modeling and simulation of bacterial biofilms. In particular, I will discuss two biofilm systems: Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms which are the most common cause of death for people with CF, and autotroph/heterotroph systems that are used for nitrate and ammonia removal from waste water in activated sludge reactors.