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Mark Welch, Jessica Associate Scientist, Josephine Bay Paul Center


Bacteria in nature live in complex, multi-species communities in which bacterial cells that are in close proximity can exchange metabolic products and signals. The Imaging Microbial Diversity group is using fluorescence microscopy to gain new information about the micron-scale arrangement of microbes in natural communities, including human-associated microbial communities, to discover how the bacterial community is structured. We employ fluorescence spectral imaging, with which the spectrum of emitted fluorescence can be recorded from each pixel or object in the field of view, and we have developed a technique called “combinatorial imaging,” in which we use combinations of fluorophore-labeled oligonucleotide probes so as to increase greatly the number of different taxa of bacteria that can be identified in a single image. The group is a collaboration between Dr. Jessica Mark Welch of the MBL’s Bay Paul Center and Dr. Gary Borisy and Mr. Blair Rossetti at the Forsyth Institute.

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