Biofilm Growth in the Lungs
Lung failure due to chronic bacterial infection is the leading cause of death for patients with cystic fibrosis. It is thought that chronic bacterial infection in this patient population is due to, in part, increased resistance and recalcitrant behavior associated with bacteria growing as biofilms within the patients' lungs. We employ mathematical modeling to describe the spatial-temporal dynamics of bacterial growth and response to treatment. Using our models, we investigate the roles of resistant bacterial subpopulations and the transport of antimicrobial drugs on various treatment strategies. This work is coordinated with laboratory component, in which bacterial biofilms are grown and treated in a flow-cell apparatus. The combination of mathematical modeling and laboratory experiments allows the disciplines of mathematics and biology to each exert a synergistic influence on research direction.