Cell mechanics, adhesion and biofilms
Bacteria have hair-like appendages called pili which they use to adhere to cells and cause infections such as cystitis. In previous research we showed that these pili can extend as bungee cords to limit the effect of large forces caused by fluid flow on the adhesive at the end of pili, called FimH. Moreover this adhesive has a remarkable property: It can bind stronger under tension than when there is no tension. This counterintuitive property is called catch bond, very much like the finger traps found in children´s toys.
We are also studying how bacteria change their metabolism in biofilms, how T. Cruzi moves and attaches to a particular host, and phage-bacteria interaction.