The motility of the prototypical bacterium Escherichia coli in aqueous media is well understood. Bacteria, however, can also live in more complex liquids, such as concentrated polymer solutions (e.g. Salmonella swimming up the mucus in chicken oviduct to infect eggs). Such solutions are ‘viscoelastic’, i.e. they show properties of both viscous liquids and elastic solids. Little is known about how bacteria propel themselves through such media. You will use a range of biophysical techniques, e.g. dynamic light scattering and confocal microscopy, to investigate this problem, while at the same time acquiring a high level of skill in laboratory microbiology. There may be opportunities to work with Dr. Gary Bryant (Melbourne), an expert in using light scattering on optically turbid samples.
- Professor Wilson Poon (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
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