Should we only consider bacteria as harmful to our bodies?
Bonnie Bassler is a molecular biologist who has made a stunning discovery: bacteria 'talk' to each other using chemical signals that enable them to act as a unit, mount attacks and coordinate defence. This phenomenon of bacterial communication - known as quorum sensing - has exciting implications for medicine, industry and our understanding of ourselves.
Bassler works on bioluminescent bacteria at Princeton University in the USA, exploiting the chemical signals for applications such as antibiotics and investigating how more complex organisms evolved. Her findings could pave the way for more potent medicines and give hope to the hunt for new weapons against drug-resistant superbugs.
Bonnie Bassler spoke to a live audience at Haverstock School, Camden in October 2013. The event was part of the 'Exchanges at the Frontier' series, which hosts some of the biggest names in world science, and is a partnership between Wellcome Collection and BBC World Service.
The event was recorded and will be broadcast on BBC World Service in February 2014. After the broadcast date, you will be able to listen to the programme on BBC iPlayer. Visit the 'Exchanges at the Frontier' website for more information:
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