Undergrad Research Project - Simulation of Bacterial Communication Mechanisms In Order To Explore Bacterial Nanocommunication Networks

Spring 2013

Sairam Krishnan
Radu Marculescu
Project description

An area of study that is of increasing interest to researchers, bacterial nanocommunication networks have the potential to significantly amplify the power and intelligence of individual nanomachines, especially with regards to their applications in the biomedical field and environmental research. Bacteria can be especially useful components in nanocommunication networks due to the phenomenon of chemotaxis, whereby they adjust their movements according to certain chemicals in their vicinity, and conjugation, whereby they transfer DNA and other substances to other bacteria.

Currently, researchers are attempting to better understand the mechanics of these two processes so that they can manipulate the bacteria to deliver medicines into the body (a biomedical application) or otherwise act according to a given set of instructions. However, they are inhibited by the time-intensiveness and expensiveness of the process of directly manipulating the bacteria; in some cases, their hard work is often undone by the fact that unlike computer programs, these are living organisms that could suddenly defy a scientist's instructions.

Thus, the goal of this project is to create a Java-based simulator that will help researchers model bacterial communication mechanisms and analyze the effects of their manipulations. This simulator would allow researchers to bypass the time and cost-intensive effort of directly manipulating the bacteria as they would study and manipulate bacterial behavior in the simulator instead.

By the end of the semester, I will have a rough, working version of the simulator. I will research the relevant biochemical topics on Google first and then will create the Java-based simulator in the Eclipse IDE.

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