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overview Our overarching goal is to understand how bacteria decode and integrate self-generated and environmentally-derived stimuli to control transitions between individual and collective behaviors. Bacterial responses to self-generated and exogenous stimuli influence their survival, persistence in particular niches, and lifestyle transitions, such as alterations between being free-swimming (individual behavior) or existing in structured antibiotic-resistant communities called biofilms (collective behavior). How the information encoded in multiple sensory inputs is extracted and integrated to drive transitions between individual and collective behaviors is largely mysterious. We use bacterial genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, microfluidics, fluorescence microscopy, and genome-scale studies to study fundamental questions about bacterial signal detection, signal relay, signal integration, and the consequences to collective behaviors. Ultimately, understanding how information encoded in diverse sensory inputs drives collective behaviors will be foundational for designing successful synthetic strategies to enhance or to inhibit biofilms and for developing novel therapeutic interventions.

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  • Swimming