Graphic describing the roles of the ids and rdn systems in P. mirabilis. IdsD disrupts collective swarming while RdnE acts as a DNA nuclease. Illustrated by Abby Knecht.
How do bacteria recognize one another?
How do micro-scale interactions among cells lead to macro-scale behaviors?
Image captured by E. Garling (2022).
"Bacterial World." Illustrated by Abby Knecht
Populations in nature
How do bacterial populations navigate their environments?
A bacteria's ecosystem comprises many moving parts, including environmental factors like antibiotics and pH levels, host immune systems, phages, and other bacteria. As such, we study these fast-moving bacteria in their native environments to understand how they navigate these changing environments. We use a combination of publicly available metagenomes, collaboration with mouse facilities, and generating datasets ourselves. Stay tuned for more.
How do we expand and develop technologies to answer questions in our system?
Diagram describing rdn gene mapping in metagenomes for Knecht A., Denise S., et al. (2023). Image by Daniel Utter.
P. mirabilis colonies migrate as swarms on top of a rigid nutrient surface. The pattern of concentric circles is characteristic.
Left: Each colony was isolated from a different person. A visible line forms between the two colonies and is apparent at the movie's end.
Right: Each colony was isolated from the same person. The two colonies form a single, coherent colony.
Movies taken by J. Austerman.
All images here are used for artistic purposes and are property of the Gibbs lab.