Prof Paul Stoodley

Event Date: 
Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 19:00 - 19:30
Ohio State University

Bacterial Biofilms: Built for Persistence in Nature and Chronic Infection.


Bacterial biofilms are microscopic assemblages of bacterial cells usually attached to a surface and held together by a self-produced extracellular polymeric slime (EPS) matrix. Biofilms are ubiquitous in nature and are highly problematic in industry and medicine where they cause corrosion, fouling, contamination and chronic medical and dental infections. The EPS matrix is chemically complex and is composed of polysaccharides, lipids, proteins and DNA and protects the bacteria within from antibiotics chemical challenges and host immunity. Mass transfer through the EPS is dominated by diffusion which, allows the development of gradients in nutrients, waste products and cell signals. The highly localized and heterogeneous chemical microenvironment caused by the metabolic activity of the biofilm can be corrosive and cytotoxic and facilitates the development of a dormant persister population.  Additionally, the bulk mechanical properties of biofilms also appear to play a role in survival by allowing the biofilm to respond to imposed mechanical loads over very short (ms) and very long (days to weeks) time scales. Creep and relaxation tests show that generally biofilms behave as viscoelastic liquids allowing them to flow over surfaces with velocities of meters per second. In this seminar Dr. Stoodley will give an overview of biofilm development using case studies to illustrate the consequences of biofilm formation in infection and the difficulties in prevention and treatment.