Biofilms, surface‐attached communities of bacterial cells, are a serious concern in health and in industrial operations because of persistent infections, clogging of flows, and surface fouling. In this talk, I will discuss about our recent progress in using Vibrio cholerae as a model biofilm former to reveal the mechanical principles behind biofilm formation, both at the single cell level and at the continuum level. I will first show that biofilm growth in constrained environments shares many similarities with the elastic cavitation problem and may shed light on some unanswered questions in fracture mechanics. Next, I will demonstrate that a two-phase active fluid model can precisely predict the cell ordering process in a growing biofilm. I will end with some perspectives on other interesting mechanical questions involved in the biofilm developmental process.
About the Speaker
Dr. Yan obtained his bachelor’s degree from the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering at Peking University. As a graduate student, he studied soft matter physics in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at UIUC. He transitioned to biomechanics and biophysics for his postdoctoral training, working at Princeton University jointly in the Department of Molecular Biology and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and the Quantitative Biology Institute at Yale. Dr. Yan received the Career Award at the Scientific Interface from Burroughs Wellcome Fund in 2016 and the NIH Director's New Innovator Award in 2021.
Host: Professor Jie Feng