University of Vermont

College of
Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

Boston Globe features bacteria research by Jane E. Hill

Release Date: 02-21-2007

Author: Dawn Marie Densmore
Phone: Array Fax: 802-656-8802

Jane E.
Hill "Bacteria's swimming ability may explain why patients with catheters are so vulnerable to infection," says Jane E. Hill, currently a post-doc at Yale University, who will join the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) in the School of Engineering as an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in Fall 2007.

Hill's research, which was discussed in a report in the Boston Globe on Monday, examines the conditions under which bacteria "orient like a weather vane" so that they can face upstream and then travel counter to the bulk flow.

Hill collaborated with Yale University colleagues Jonathan McMurry and Hur Koser, as well as Ozge Kalkanci of Bogazici University in Istanbul, on a research article titled, "Hydrodynamic Surface Interactions Enable Escherichia Coli to Seek Efficient Routes to Swim Upstream," published in Physical Review Letters (PRL 98, 068101 [2007]).

Their results indicate that the ability of E. coli to swim upstream along surfaces might also be relevant to bacteria transport in irrigation pipes. Hill and her colleagues believe their work is the first observation of the natural tendency of bacteria to swim upstream.