Henriette Lyng Røder

Henriette Lyng Røder


Interactions in bacterial communities

Bacteria have traditionally been viewed as single cell organisms and studied as such. Researchers have now, however, come to the conclusion that bacteria are predominantly found in biofilm. In natural environments biofilm consists of several distinct species increasing the complexity of the underlying interactions. My main research is focused on bacterial interactions within these communities. I am particularly interested in examining bacterial adaptation and how co-adaptation affects the productivity of bacterial communities. I have shown that extended co-existence can lead to enhanced productivity compared to environments where the bacteria have had shorter time together.

Furthermore, bacteria in biofilms are often provided with an increased resistance against e.g. antibiotics, which would have otherwise killed them. Resistance can be acquired by horizontal gene transfer which can occur between the different species e.g. in the form of self-replicating plasmids. This is of great concern in both industrial and medical settings.The interactions in multispecies biofilm are not well understood which complicates the understanding of the rising threat of pathogenic bacteria with multiple resistances. It is thus essential to focus research on the sociomicrobiology of biofilms to be able to understand the key mechanisms involved and connect this to the selective forces behind the evolution in bacteria.

Aim of my research is to acquire new knowledge on the prevalence of interactions in multispecies biofilm and their contribution to, and interplay between, bacteria during formation of mixed species biofilm and transfer of genes. This will garner an understanding of how the individual species are contributing to the collective as well as of the interplay between bacteria. 


You are always welcome to contact me if you have questions or is interested in doing a project about bacterial interactions and/or plasmid transfer in biofilm communities.


General techniques

To examine these questions I use a range of different techniques e.g. molecular tools (like fluorescent tagging of bacteria), genome sequencing, PCR, confocal laser scanning microscopy, flow cytometry and classical microbiology assays. A diverse range of biofilm systems from different static assays to different flow systems like; BioFlux, Drip Flow Reator and Ibidi flow system.

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