Bacteria live in complex environments and are affected by local nutrient availability as well as by neighboring cells. Quantifying these factors are therefore important in understanding how cells are able to grow and adapt to changes in their environment.
I develop optical techniques to film cells over long periods of time, allowing changes in their behavior to be observed. I also develop software to analyze the resulting images and visualize complex datasets. My work has enabled new biological discoveries, as well as improving the accuracy of biomedical imaging.
Here are the broad themes of my research:
Software tools and algorithms for biological imagingOptical imaging enables biological systems to be studied at the single-cell level. However, the resulting image datasets are large and difficult to analyze. I develop software to extract information from time-lapse microscope images.
Single cell responses to environmental changesBacterial cells live in a constantly changing environment, which requires them to react quickly if the environment becomes hostile. I use fluorescence microscopy and molecular biology to study how cellular processes are affected by local changes, and how these give rise to individual behavior that differs from the population as a whole.
Interactions in multi-species microscopic communitiesIn nature, bacteria exist in multi-species communities. I use microscopy to study how individual cells within a population interact with each other, as well as interactions between different species of microscopic organisms.
Wavefront-shaping for biomedical imagingOptical scattering limits most imaging to superficial depths. To overcome scattering, I used a spatial light modulator to modify the phase of light, allowing light to be focused within a scattering sample. I am interested in using this