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Tanmay Bharat

Structural cell biology of bacterial biofilm formation

Rather than living as single, isolated cells in liquid cultures, most bacteria on this planet form macroscopic, surface-attached, multi-cellular communities known as biofilms. Bacterial biofilms play a role in many diseases and medical conditions including cystic fibrosis, bone, wound and urinary tract infections. Bacterial cells in a biofilm community show increased tolerance to antibiotics, making medical treatment difficult. Understanding this fundamental bacterial developmental process is therefore critical to understand the colonization process of pathogenic bacteria.

The goal of our group is to apply structural and cell biology techniques to study general principles governing bacterial biofilm formation. We use electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM) and tomography (cryo-ET) to resolve structures of molecules that mediate biofilm formation. Correlated light and electron microscopy (CLEM) and mass spectrometry (MS) are used to support our investigations. We combine in vitro reconstitution of key molecules with in vivo imaging to understand how bacteria form biofilms.

Scientists interested in our work are welcome to contact Tanmay Bharat ( for more details. We have positions available at all levels.

For a full publication list click here