Research Project Full Title: Microbial Adaptation in Extreme Environments
Principal Investigator(s): Charlie Werth, Bruce Fouke (UIUC), Robert Sanford (UIUC)
Researchers: Reinaldo Alcalde, Lang Zhou, Jinzi Deng, Yiran Dong
Full Abstract: Microorganisms in nature have evolved in response to a variety of environmental stresses, which include temperature, pH, substrate availability and aqueous chemistry. As a result, the highest abundance of bacteria is often found in the most optimal microenvironment. When a stressor gradient is introduced, bacteria will preferentially grow at the most optimal location along this gradient, which can change over time with adaptation. In this study, a novel microfluidic device is being used for in vitro real-time tracking of microbial abundance in response to gradients in both the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin and selected nutrient substrates across a porous media.
Additional Links: Institute for Universal Biology: http://astrobiology.illinois.edu/; National Astrobiology Institute: https://nai.nasa.gov/teams/can-6/uiuc/.