Mathematical Biology Seminar

Mechanisms Underlying Spatiotemporal Patterning in Microbial Collectives: A Mathematical Perspective

Speaker(s): Bhargav Karamched (Florida State University, Mathematics)
We describe a spatial Moran model that captures mechanical interactions and directional growth in spatially extended populations. The model is analytically tractable and completely solvable under a mean-field approximation and can elucidate the mechanisms that drive the formation of population-level patterns. As an example, we model a population of E. coli growing in a rectangular microfluidic trap. We show that spatial patterns can arise because of a tug-of-war between boundary effects and growth rate modulations due to cell-cell interactions. We will then discuss how our model reveals that changes to a cell-shape describing parameter may manifest at the population level of the microbial collective. Specifically, we discuss mechanisms revealed by our model on how we may be able to control spatiotemporal patterning by modifying cell shape of a given strain in a multi-strain microbial consortium.

Physics 119