The overarching goal of our research is to achieve a fundamental understanding of the biological mechanisms involved in bacterial biofilm formation, and to use this knowledge to combat biofilms, either by preventing their formation or by developing more effective treatment strategies.
We study how bacteria form biofilms on, e.g. implant surfaces by identifying and investigating the functionality of the biomolecules used to attach to abiotic materials and to other cells. We are currently investigating the role of newly identified genes in Bacillus cereus, and Staphylococcus epidermidis. We combine molecular microbiology with a range of biophysical methods to characterize the cell surface properties and visualize biofilms by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Understanding the interaction forces of bacterial cells is a core issue, and we use our AFM to quantify these forces by single-cell force spectroscopy.
Many of our projects have an applied focus and involve collaboration with academic and industry partners: Alfa Laval, Accoat, Grundfos, Eurofins, Arla, Foss, DNA Diagnostic, Biomodics, and DuPont. These projects include: Development of antifouling surfaces for the water sector, development of treatments for biofilm infections based on nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery, and formulation of natural antimicrobials for food preservation.