Twitcher Bacterial Cells
This collaboration involves researchers at the University of Guelph (Dr. John Dutcher, Dr. Rob Wickham) and McMaster University (Dr. Lori Burrows) exploring the motility of "twitcher" bacteria cells moving across surfaces. These bacteria extend and retract hair-like appendages called pili that act as nanoscopic grappling hooks. At high densities of the bacteria Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, our experimental collaborators observe collective motion of the bacteria where tens to hundreds of bacteria move as a pack and appear to flow almost as a fluid. My group is modeling this collective motion by modeling the bacteria as 4 particles joined together and implemented bacteria-specific forces corresponding to the net effect of pili. Simulating up to 2000 bacteria, we are able to replicate the collective motion with no interactions between bacteria other than excluded volume. We have quantified this collective motion and the emergence thereof as a function of density.
Andrew Nagel, Michael Greenberg,Tyler N. Shendruk, Hendrick W. de Haan, "Collective Dynamics of Model Twitcher-Mode Baciliforms", submitted, 2020.
de Haan HW,"Modeling and Simulating the Dynamics of Type IV Pili Extension of Pseudomonas aeruginosa", Biophysical Journal, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2016.09.050 (2016).