Bacterial biofilms often clog porous materials. This is a well-known problem in medical, environmental, and technological settings. However, until now, little was known about the mechanism influencing the creation and rearrangement of flow paths within biofilms. In collaboration with Dr. Jimenez-Martinez at Eawag, we show that the competition between hydrodynamics and microbial growth governs the opening and closing of preferential flow paths within biofilms. Curious? Read more in this PNAS paper.
Flowing polymer solutions are ubiquitous, and so are bacteria. Some time ago, we asked ourselves a simple but unexplored question: How does the rheological behavior of polymer solutions affect the transport of motile bacteria in flow? This paper in Frontiers in Physics is the answer! Thanks to Giovanni for leading the effort and to all the collaborators for their precious input.
We have an opening for a Master’s thesis followed by an internship on developing a microfluidic platform to study bacterial-induced plastic biodegradation! The project is a collaboration between our group at ETH Zürich and Nestlé.
Are you looking for an M.S.C thesis at the interface between material science and microbiology? Then, you should check this link out! In collaboration with Prof. Isa (ETH, D-MATL) and Prof. Mathys (ETH, D-HEST), we will use bacterial spores as building blocks to enable the design of living or self-healing materials following routes developed for colloidal particles.
Did you know that the interplay between surface adhesion and growth controls the 3D morphology of biofilms? In collaborative work with Jan Vermont and Steffen Geisel (D-MATL, ETH Zurich), recently published in eLife, we show how surface-attached biofilms undergo a mechanical buckling instability and form a channel network that rapidly increases the effective volume occupied by the biofilm and facilitates bacterial movement inside it.
Interested in biofilm in porous media? Join the H034 Session “Biogeochemical and Hydrodynamical Processes in Biofilms and Porous Media” at AGU 2022 Fall Meeting, taking place in Chicago, 12-16 December 2022.
Abstract submission is open until 3 August.
We have a new chapter of our biofilm streamers’ story!
We designed a microfluidic platform to reproducibly form streamers and characterize their morphology, biochemical composition, and rheology in situ. It is based on a hydrodynamic trick I hope you will enjoy! Kudos to Giovanni Savorana for his fantastic work! Thanks to Soft Matter for including this work in their Soft Matter Emerging Investigators Series.
Finally out on PNAS– our story about biofilm filaments suspended in flow, the streamers! We had to develop new tools to unravel how the biochemical composition of streamers determines their mechanical stability and rheological behaviour. We even learned how to control their formation! However, streamers are still an unexplored system, and we are looking forward to giving our next contribution to their biophysical investigation! Thanks to the incredible team I had the privilege to work with!
Happy Women’s Day!
To celebrate this special day, Frontiers in Soft Matter launched a dedicated Research Topic, “Women in Soft Matter“. It is an honor for me to serve as a Topic Editor.
Please share the news – let’s make this Research Topic great together!
We’re now offering a new MSc project in collaboration with Prof. Isa of the Laboratory of Soft materials and Interfaces – Check out the description for an overview of the project! Bacterial spores as building blocks for living materials
Would you like to know how to characterize a micron-sized biofilm filament suspended in flow? Check out Giovanni’s recent work on bioRxiv
We`re happy to share our latest review paper which focuses upon “Environmental, Microbiological, and Immunological Features of Bacterial Biofilms Associated with Implanted Medical Devices”
Check out our latest bioRxiv preprint, in collaboration with Prof. Jan Vermant! “The role of surface adhesion on the macroscopic wrinkling of biofilms“
Check out our latest paper published in JoVE! Congratulations Roberto! “Patterning of Microorganisms and Microparticles through Sequential Capillarity-assisted Assembly“. The video will come soon- we will keep you posted!
Eleonora is visiting IMEDEA Institute in Mallorca to study the influence of biofilm streamers formation on the downward transport of microplastics in the Ocean, in collaboration with Marco Polin and Idan Tuval.
Check out our latest bioRxiv preprint about the specific contribution of bacterial secreted extracellular DNA and exopolysaccharide Pel, two important components in Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms, to the formation and the mechanical properties of the streamers! “The structural role of bacterial eDNA in the formation of biofilm streamers“
Eleonora will be the convener of the “Biochemical and Hydrodynamic Processes in Biofilms and Porous Media” session at AGU (New Orleans, LA and online event – December 13 – 17, 2020). See you online! The deadline for abstract submission is August 4th, 2020.
Looking forward to sharing my research with colleagues at the University of Melbourne on May the 5th!
Check out our latest bioRxiv preprint, in collaboration with Prof. Paolo Arosio! “Dynamic arrest and aging of biomolecular condensates are regulated by low-complexity domains, RNA and biochemical activity“
Chantal Dillier joined the group to conduct her Master’s Thesis on biofilm-membrane systems, a project in collaboration with Dr. Nicolas Derlon at Eawag. Welcome, Chantal!
Check out our latest paper, in collaboration with Dr. Hansjörg Seybold, published in Frontiers in Physics! “Localization in Flow of Non-Newtonian Fluids Through Disordered Porous Media“
Check out our latest paper published in Lab on a chip! Congratulations Roberto! “Sequential capillarity-assisted particle assembly in a microfluidic channel“
Abstract submission for the “MS5: Biochemical processes and biofilms in porous media” session at InterPore2021 is now open! The conference will take place online from May the 31st to June the 3rd. See you online!
Poster award at the Italian Soft Days 2020. Giovanni Savorana won the Best Poster Award at the Italian Soft Days 2020. Congratulations Giovanni!
The scientific community is being challenged by the COVID19 pandemic as never before. One important aspect was the annulment of all the conferences and seminars in presence. For the first time, we had to give up these rewarding moments of exchange of ideas, feeling a bit like athletes unable to play and perform. Our solution was moving everything online! I must say it’s a tough challenge, but it’s a sign nothing can held exchange back. Impatiently awaiting for the next plane we will take with our poster tube, this is Eleonora’s talk at the Bio Active Fluids seminar series.
Check out our latest paper published in Scientific Reports! “Mapping the local viscosity of non-Newtonian fluids flowing through disordered porous structures“
Eleonora will be convener of the “Biochemical and Hydrodynamic Processes in Biofilms and Porous Media” session at AGU (virtual format – December 7-11, 2020). See you online! The deadline for abstract (link: https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm20/prelim.cgi/Session/103669) submission is July 29th, 2020.
Check out our latest paper published in Nature Communications! “The effect of flow on swimming bacteria controls the initial colonization of curved surfaces”
Join InterPore2020 online! Call for abstract is currently open.
Check out our latest paper published in the New Journal of Physics “Encounter rates between bacteria and small sinking particles“!
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic a number of our lab members have been involved with establishing the helpfulETH initiative. helpfulETH is a platform which aims to provide short-term engineering solutions for needs in the healthcare sector caused through the current COVID-19 epidemic situation.
Eleonora will be chairing the “Biochemical processes and biofilms in porous media” session at InterPore 2020 held in Qingdao, China, 24 -29 May. See you there!
Welcome to Sam who has joined the lab to focus on biofilm formation in the presence of pH gradients.
Eleonora Secchi has been awarded a prestigious PRIMA Grant to work on biofilm formation in flow – congrats Eleonora!