Harvard Medical School
Kolter Lab


Jordi van Gestel: Division of Labor

Jordi van Gestel: Bacterial Multicellularity
Bacillus subtilis often lives in multicellular communities, which are studied in the lab by growing biofilms or swarms. These communities are characterized by properties that one typically would associate with multicellular development: cell-to-cell communication, cell differentiation, spatial and temporal coordination and localized cell death. My research focuses on the development of different cell types – surfactin and matrix producing cells – and, in particular, on if and how these cell types divide the labor in order to improve community performance. Furthermore, I examine the evolutionary origin of bacterial multicellularity through mathematical modeling.