Bacterial Biofilms

Bacterial Biofilms

Prof. Dr. Knut Drescher

Research area

The lab focuses on understanding collective bacterial behaviors, using biofilm formation and swarming as model systems. Bacterial biofilms are surface-associated bacterial communities that are held together by an extracellular matrix. Cells within these communities are highly resistant to antibiotics and display strong phenotypic heterogeneity. Using microscopy, molecular biology techniques, and mathematical modeling, we study how bacteria form these complex multicellular biofilm communities, and how biofilms affect bacterial ecology. 

Main lab website:

Group picture, October 2019

Recent Selected Publications

Full publication list: 

R. Hartmann*, H. Jeckel*, E. Jelli*, P.K. Singh, S. Vaidya, M. Bayer, D. Rode, L. Vidakovic, F. Díaz-Pascual, J.C.N. Fong, A. Dragoš, O. Besharova, J.G. Thöming, N. Netter, S. Häussler, C.D. Nadell, V. Sourjik, A.T. Kovács, F.H. Yildiz, K. Drescher (2021) Quantitative image analysis of microbial communities with BiofilmQ. Nature Microbiology 6, 151-156. (abstract)

H. Jeckel, K. Drescher (2020) Advances and opportunities in image analysis of bacterial cells and communities. FEMS Microbiology Reviews, fuaa062. (abstract)

R. Herzog, N. Peschek, P.K. Singh, M. Sprenger, F. Meyer, K.S. Fröhlich, L. Schröger, M. Bramkamp, K. Drescher, K. Papenfort (2020) RNA-mediated control of cell shape modulates antibiotic resistance in Vibrio cholerae. Nature Communications 11, 6067. (abstract)

F. Diaz-Pascual, R. Hartmann, M. Lempp, L. Vidakovic, B. Song, H. Jeckel, K.M. Thormann, F.H. Yildiz, J. Dunkel, H. Link, C.D. Nadell, K. Drescher (2019)  Breakdown of Vibrio cholerae biofilm architecture induced by antibiotics disrupts community barrier function. Nature Microbiology 4, 2136-2145. (abstract)

P. Pearce, B. Song, D.J. Skinner, R. Mok, R. Hartmann, P.K. Singh, H. Jeckel, J.S. Oishi, K. Drescher*, J. Dunkel* (2019)  Flow-induced symmetry breaking in growing bacterial biofilms. Physical Review Letters123, 258101. (abstract)

R. Colin, K. Drescher, V. Sourjik (2019) Chemotactic behavior of Escherichia coli at high cell density. Nature Communications10, 5329. (abstract)

H. Jeckel, E. Jelli, R. Hartmann, P.K. Singh, R. Mok, J.F. Totz, L. Vidakovic, B. Eckhardt, J. Dunkel, K. Drescher (2019) Learning the space-time phase diagram of bacterial swarm expansion. PNAS 116, 1489-1494. (abstract)

R. Hartmann, P.K. Singh, P. Pearce, R. Mok, B. Song, F. Diaz-Pascual, J. Dunkel, K. Drescher (2019) Emergence of three-dimensional order and structure in growing biofilmsNature Physics 15, 251-256. (abstract)

L. Vidakovic, P.K. Singh, R. Hartmann, C.D. Nadell, K. Drescher (2018) Dynamic biofilm architecture confers individual and collective mechanisms of viral protection. Nature Microbiology 3, 26-31. (abstract)

P.K. Singh, S. Bartalomej, R. Hartmann, H. Jeckel, L. Vidakovic, C.D. Nadell, K. Drescher (2017) Vibrio cholerae combines individual and collective sensing to trigger biofilm dispersal. Current Biology 27, 1-8. (abstract)




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