Today over sixty-five per cent of human infections are due to bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance, when bacteria can defeat the drugs designed to kill them, is a serious health problem and remains a top concern for many clinicians and researchers. That’s why Celine Levesque’s lab has been studying how bacteria are able to survive in different conditions. Recently, together with senior research associate Delphine Dufour, they found that bacteria can pass on antibiotic-resistant DNA to other cells in the mouth. Although Levesque’s research heavily focuses on Streptococcus mutans (the bacteria responsible for cavities), their recent findings have implications that go well beyond oral health.
A study from U of T Engineering researchers shows that mechanical deformation of medically implantable materials — such as bending or twisting — can have a big impact on the formation of potentially harmful biofilms. The study, described in a paper published in Scientific Reports, shows that even slight bending of elastomeric materials such as polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), also known as silicone, opens up microscopic cracks that are perfect environments for colonizing bacteria.