Not Just for Neurons: Electrical Signaling in Bacterial Biofilm Communities
07 Nov 2017

Galvani’s pioneering 18th century experiments first demonstrated that the behavior of living tissues is regulated by the flow of electrochemical species. Though electrophysiology has since become critical for neuroscience research, recent microbiological studies are defining the emerging field of biofilm electrophysiology. In this webinar, Dr. Gürol Süel, from the University of California, San Diego, will demonstrate that even simple bacteria residing in communities use electrochemical communication to coordinate population-level behaviors.

Dr. Süel will share data from his lab’s compelling discovery of ion channel-mediated electrical signaling within bacterial biofilm communities. This new form of bacterial cell-to-cell communication reveals an unexpected connection between micro- and neurobiology. Electrical signaling in biofilms plays a critical role in the emergence of collective behavior and the coordination of metabolic states. Dr. Süel will further discuss how electrical signaling can give rise to the formation of mixed species biofilms.

Key learning objectives:

  • How electrical signaling can have long-range effects that extend beyond the biofilm community
  • What impact real-time, continuous imaging of live cultures has had on the study of bacterial biofilms and population responses
  • How two biofilms may become electrically coupled, and may modulate that nexus to engage in nutrient time-sharing dynamics
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