Physicochemical properties of bacterial membranes and membrane vesicles
Many interactions between bacteria and their surroundings relate to processes occurring at their cell surface. In this project we investigate how chemical composition of the bacterial cell envelope influences these interactions.
The goal of the project is to increase fundamental knowledge that later may have applications in applied fields such as antifouling surfaces or drug delivery.
In order to obtain increased understanding of molecular level processes governing the interactions between the bacterial cells and its surroundings (e.g. interactions with a polymeric brush surface) we have been collaborating with the groups of Professor Thereza Soares at University of Pernambuco in Brazil, Professor Julien Gautrot at Queen Mary University of London, UK and Dr Stefan Salentinig at University of Fribourg.
These collaborations allow us to combine experimental data with computer simulations. Thus, we compare macroscopic physicochemical characteristics observed experimentally with molecular level interactions as indicated from molecular dynamics simulations. This work involves both studies of model membranes as well as outer membrane vesicles as models for the bacterial cell.
This international collaboration has been supported by computational resources at the HPC2N and an institutional grant from STINT, the latter is further described here.