Gemma Reguera

Gemma  Reguera
  • Professor
  • Microbiology & Molecular Genetics



Microbial adaptive responses to the environment and their biotechnological applications: The Reguera lab studies the adaptive responses of microbes to their natural environment and exploits this knowledge to find novel biotechnological applications for microbial processes. Microbes have evolved to adapt to the environmental conditions of their particular ecosystem and respond to a myriad of changes and challenges in order to survive. Survival of the fittest rules. A major challenge in microbial research is how to reproduce those conditions in the laboratory in order to have a controlled environment to study microbial processes and behavior as they occur in nature. Research to date indicates that microbes may actually spend just a short fraction of their life as individual cells in a liquid environment (planktonic life). Rather, microbes preferentially live in association with surfaces living as part of complex communities known as biofilms. Bacterial biofilms provide bacteria with shelter and higher concentrations of nutrients. Being part of a biofilm community requires cooperation and all the members communicate and work synergistically to benefit the community as a whole. Because of the beneficial aspects of ‘communal' life, microbes compete to colonize surfaces and form biofilms. Our lab focuses on the study of bacterial interactions with surfaces and bacterial interactions and microbial processes that govern life within a biofilm. Our research does not stop here: we take this knowledge to the next level and find novel biotechnological applications for biofilm processes and key biofilm nanocomponents (such as proteins).


  • how the bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducenscolonizes surfaces and lives as biofilms