Menu

Image of the Day: Mother Machine

Bacteria grow and divide in microfluidic channels.

Emily Makowski
Sep 20, 2019
ABOVE: The “mother machine” houses growing E. coli bacteria.
LOIS OGUNLANA (2019)

Colistin is a last-resort antibiotic used to treat infections such as pneumonia and bacteremia. The gene MCR-1 makes Escherichia coli resistant to the drug, but it also lowers the bacteria’s fitness. Lois Ogunlana, a grad student at the University of Oxford, is trying to find out why. As part of her research in the labs of Craig MacLean and Stephan Uphoff, she watches the “mother machine,” a device that houses growing bacteria.

The bacteria are contained in growth channels that are microfluidic, meaning that the fluid growth media is precisely controlled at the microscale as it flows through the device. Mother cells divide at the bottom of each channel, and their daughter cells migrate upward to the opening, where they get flushed out by a stream of media. Ogunlana adds a stressor, such as antibiotics, to see what happens as the bacteria grow in real time. “We can measure many parameters like changes in cell size, cell length, growth rates, cell division rates, and generation times,” she tells The Scientist in an email. 

Emily Makowski is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at emakowski@the-scientist.com.

May 2020

Making Memories

The fundamental cognitive process is revealing itself to science

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

NanoString and OnRamp BioInformatics Partner to Develop Cloud-Based Analysis Solutions for nCounter Data
Expanded Functionality to Support COVID-19 Research Immediately Available Through Early Access 
Optimizing Live Cell Monitoring
Download this white paper to learn how to optimize live cell monitoring workflows for advanced cell models
Troubleshooting Water Problems in Laboratory Experiments
Download this guide to learn tips for cell culture, molecular biology, and liquid chromatography!
FDA Lists Bio-Rad’s CFX96 Dx Real-Time PCR System for IVD Testing
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb), a global leader of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, today announced that its CFX96 Dx Real-Time PCR System has been listed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for IVD testing and may be used to help in the diagnosis of COVID-19.