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Extending Boundary Integral Methods to Biofilm Dynamics

Mathematical Biology

Speaker: Nick Cogan, Florida State University
Location: 2112 MSB
Start time: Mon, Jan 28 2008, 2:10PM

Current research has determined that that the majority of bacteria in nature exist in structured communities termed biofilms rather than free swimming planktonic bacteria. Moreover, bacteria within biofilms are highly tolerant to typical antimicrobial and antibiotic treatments. These observations, coupled with the negative impacts of the presence of biofilms in medical, industrial and natural settings, have driven research into the processes that govern the formation, growth and development of biofilms.

Because biofilms typically form in the presence of an externally driven fluid, the dynamics of the viscoelastic biofilm is inherently a fluid dynamics problem. Biofilms are physically and biologically heterogeneous with a range material properties, making any mathematical treatment both challenging and engaging. This talk will describe the incremental process of extending a classical technique used to solve coupled flow problems (BIM) to incorporate the growth and material properties of the biofilm. The goal of the research is to provide insight into the mechanisms of bacterial tolerance and the development of more effective removal of the bacteria.