The studies undertaken in the laboratory basically address 2 main questions:
• How commensal and pathogenic Escherichia coli form biofilms?
• What biofilm-specific physiological properties do these bacteria express once the biofilm is formed?
The use of genetic, genomic and molecular biology approaches combined with different biofilm models enabled us to: (i) identify several bacterial factors promoting both initial surface contacts and bacterial-bacterial interactions during the tri-dimensional development of the biofilm (pili, surface adhesins and extracellular polysaccharides); (ii) investigate biofilm-specific physiological properties with particular emphasis on competitive bacterial interactions within mixed biofilms (bacterial interference molecule in mixed biofilms contexts); and iii) to develop collaborations with biophysicists and biochemists in order to study the early stage of bacterial contact with surfaces (study of very erly stages of bacteria adhesion, influence of surface nature on genetic responses).
These approaches contribute to a better fundamental understanding of bacterial biofilm lifestyle and could reveal unsuspected biological resources that may be used by E. coli species to operate within bacterial communities. Moreover, some aspects of our studies are positioned at the interface between fundamental and clinical/applied researches and could also lead, in partnership with the industry, to the development of new strategies to control or limit the extent of pathogenic or detrimental biofilms in situations in which they represent a sanitary, industrial or ecological problem.