The Karatan lab studies biofilm formation by the human intestinal pathogen Vibrio cholerae. Biofilms are communities of bacteria that live mostly attached to surfaces. Bacteria in biofilms are more tolerant to a variety of environmental stressors. They have been implicated in survival of this bacterium in its natural aquatic environment as well as in the human host. Dr. Karatan is interested in understanding the environmental signals and the genetic networks in the bacterium that regulate biofilm formation. Above is a micrograph taken using a confocal scanning fluorescent microscope of a Vibrio cholerae biofilm that was stained with the fluorescent dye Syto9. The middle section indicates surface coverage and the top and the side panels show the thickness of the biofilm. Microscopy was done by Whitney Bond, a graduate student in the Karatan lab.