Mar 31, 2021
The invasion of
3D printing has even infiltrated the world of bacteria.
Ravinahs Kumar discusses how this technology provides researchers
with a new way to watch bacterial communities interact under a
variety of conditions.
Listen and learn
Ravinash Krishna Kumar is a postdoctoral fellow at the
University of Oxford. He is working on
3D printing bacteria to both test the potential of this
technology and investigate bacterial community interactions.
They've been able to print different populations, strains, and
species and explore how spatial positions affect their stability
In fact, by designating a variety of parameters, they can position clusters of bacteria in defined spatial patterns and make comparisons. For example, they can print out different clusters of E. coli and test how they interact under different conditions on a much smaller scale than previous agar-dependent studies.
This cutting-edge technology, scale, and material allows them to
ask a host of new questions. In addition to observing different
strains interacting, they can observe how those strains grow when
segregated. He adds that they can observe them "consuming
local nutrients or sending out diffusible molecules to each other,
or touching each other literally, and sending things across to each
In other words, his research explores a whole new way to understand bacterial competition and commensalism in spaces similar to natural spaces. This eventually will help researchers treat diseases caused by bacterial growth in biofilms and through mucosa in the human immune system.
Episode also available on Apple Podcasts: apple.co/30PvU9C