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Master’s thesis:

Determinants of chemotactic colony expansion


Chemotactic expansion of bacterial colonies is a robust phenomenon that occurs when a drop of bacterial culture in inoculated in a nutrient rich soft-agar plate. The speed of the colony expansion is widely used as a convenient readout of chemotactic behavior. Despite its ubiquity, the assay can be difficult to interpret as the determinants of the expansion speed have not been well studied. This project aims to supply a fundamental basis for interpreting a major microbiological workhorse assay by determining what parameters drive the speed of chemotactic range expansions.
The project consists of two phases:
1) Constructing and testing an experimental setup enabling automated, parallelized observations of expanding bacterial colonies under controlled conditions.
2) A series of experiments using the setup aimed at testing what parameters determine the speed of chemotactic range expansions.

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Candidates should bring along curiosity and an open mindset, an affinity for quantitative, computer-assisted approaches, as well as enthusiasm for interdisciplinary experimental work.