Grant: $200,918 - National Institutes of Health - Apr. 29, 2009
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Award Description: The ability of the bacterium Streptococcus mutans to take up DNA from its local environment is known as genetic competence, and it is an important component of the virulence of this organism. Existing data indicates that in the natural biofilm environment, the onset of competence in Streptococcus mutans is influenced or triggered by a number of chemical and physical properties of the local environment. There may be substantial gradients in the local pH, the concentration of signal molecules, or the diffusibility of small molecules. The goal of this project is to develop methods for studying the ways that such local chemical and physical aspects of the environment help to regulate or control the onset of genetic competence. We are constructing microscopic-size devices in which Streptococcus mutans can be grown and studied at the level of individual cells. We are also developing appropriate gene reporting strains of the bacterium for use in these devices. The devices will allow researchers to manipulate the local environment of the organism in complex ways, while using a fluorescence microscope to observe the response of the cells. The first phase of the project involves designing and constructing devices using microfluidic technology. Later phases involve testing the devices by placing engineered strains of Streptococcus mutans into the devices and studying their response to gradients in pH, signal concentration, and other chemical variables.
Project Description: This is as defined in the award description field.
Jobs Summary: The recipient retained an Associate Professor in Physics, a Professor in Oral Biology, and a Research Associate Professor in Oral Biology, and a Research Assistant in Physics. (Total jobs reported: 1)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Apr. 29, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.