Internationally Known Microbiologist to Discuss Biofilms in Public Talk May 2 at UW

head photo of a woman
Ute Römling

Ute Römling, a preeminent microbiologist from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, is the guest speaker at the University of Wyoming Thursday, May 2.

Römling will discuss “Microbial biofilm formation -- about origin, multicellularity and clinical impact” in a free public talk at 5:10 p.m. in Room 138 of the Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center. She also will give a research seminar Friday, May 3, as part of the UW Department of Molecular Biology’s seminar series.

In her public presentation, Römling  will explain that most microbes live in communities known as biofilms. Such communities are formed when microbes colonize various types of surfaces and produce self-protecting matrix.

The matrix materials protect microbial biofilms from drying and exposure to harmful chemicals, including disinfectants and antibiotics, thus facilitating human and animal infections. According to the latest data, it is estimated that about 70 percent of human infections involve microbial biofilms. Some of the most problematic biofilms are formed on the surfaces of prosthetic devices, in chronic wounds and in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients.

Römling is among the world experts in biofilms. Her work has helped uncover how bacteria make decisions to form biofilms and what components enteric bacteria produce to protect themselves. Her research has focused primarily on Salmonella Typhimurium and E. coli, but also on pathogenic Pseudomonas and Candida.

She received her doctorate degree from Technical University of Hannover, Germany, and postdoctoral training at the Hanover Medical School and also at Karolinska Institutet. She began her independent research career in Helmholtz Center for Infection Research in Braunschweig, Germany, and, in 2001, moved to Karolinska Institutet.

She has been published in about 150 publications that have been widely cited. Among her many recognitions is an elected membership in the European Academy of Microbiology.

Römling’s UW visit is sponsored through a Global Perspectives grant from the UW College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources.

For more information, email UW Department of Molecular Biology Professor Mark Gomelsky at

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