Start main content

May 19, 2022

Seminar (2022-05-19)

School of Biomedical Sciences is pleased to invite you to join the following seminar:

Date: Thursday, 19 May, 2022

Time: 4:00 pm – 5:30 am

Via Zoom:

Meeting ID: 977 7760 9989

Password: 681800

Speaker: Dr. Yilin Wu, Associate Professor, Department of Physics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Title: “Self-organized canals enable long range directed material transport in bacterial communities”



Dr. WU Yilin obtained his B.S. in Physics from the University of Science and Technology of China in 2004 and Ph.D. in Physics from University of Notre Dame in 2009. After postdoctoral research at Rowland Institute of Harvard University, he has been a faculty member in the Department of Physics of the Chinese University of Hong Kong as Assistant Professor (2012-2018) and Associate Professor (2018-present). His research interest is in biophysics and quantitative biology, with a focus on the motion and self-organization of microbial systems ranging from single cells to microbial communities, such as bacterial swarms and biofilms.


Long-range material transport is essential to maintain the physiological functions of multicellular organisms such as animals and plants. By contrast, material transport in bacteria is often short-ranged and limited by diffusion. Here we report a unique form of long-range material transport in structured bacterial communities. Using Pseudomonas aeruginosa colonies as a model system, we discover that the colony spontaneously develops a large-scale open channel system with fluid flows supporting high-speed (up to 450 µm/s) material transport over centimeters. The open channels are reminiscent of human-made canals for cargo transport, and the channel flows are presumably driven by interfacial tension mediated by cell-secreted biosurfactants. Spatial-temporal dynamics of the fluid transport are qualitatively described by flow profile measurement and mathematical modeling. Our findings demonstrate that mechanochemical coupling between interfacial force and biosurfactant kinetics can coordinate large-scale material transport in primitive life forms, suggesting a new principle to engineer self-organized microbial communities.


Should you have any enquiries, please feel free to contact Miss Angela Wong at 3917 9216.