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Improved modelling of how bacteria grow on surfaces

26 February 2021

Model Behaviour

Think of biomedical research and you probably imagine scientists in white coats doing experiments in a lab. Recent advances in computing and data science are opening up new ways to investigate life and health. Rather than getting their hands dirty in the lab, many researchers are building sophisticated computer simulations, known as models, to understand how complex systems like cells, organisms and populations behave and what happens when things change. To create these models, researchers combine data from existing biological systems with sophisticated algorithms, then see how well the resulting simulation mirrors what happens in real life. This colourful animated mosaic is the result of a new model for how bacteria grow on a surface, which is more representative of reality than previous simpler models. Having accurate, lifelike models is important for finding out what happens when conditions are altered or predicting the likely effects of drugs or other treatments.

Written by Kat Arney

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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