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CBE Seminar: Scott T. Retterer, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Title: "Exploring the Plant-microbe Interface, Emerging Techniques for Controlling and Monitoring Dynamic Changes in Developing Multi-Kingdom Systems."

The development of natural systems depends on complex physical and chemical exchanges that occur over space and time. Capturing the ephemeral nature of these signals and the dynamically changing host and community phenotypes associated with these events requires the use of complementary imaging, chemical, and genetic sampling strategies that can be used to quantify and correlate these properties over time.

In this work, he presents a suite of techniques and emerging technologies to monitor and interpret the drivers of plant host development and colonization. A combination of microfluidic and 3D printed plant-microbe co-culture platforms, and model soil analogues have enabled the characterization of root colonization patterns by plant-growth promoting bacteria isolated from Populus. These platforms have the potential to provide insights into how physical and chemical features of the host shape colonization, niche formation, and microbe-microbe interactions within the rhizosphere. Likewise, the influence of constructed communities on a dynamic host phenotype can be quantified. Ultimately, this suite of multi-modal sampling and measurement techniques allows us to understand the influence of biochemical transport and exchange on the functional composition and structure of these dynamic plant-microbe systems in tractable model environments that capture critical features of their natural habitats.

As a senior staff scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, working across the Biosciences and Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences Divisions, Scott T. Retterer’s work focuses on the development of materials and fluidic interfaces to biological and soft material systems with an emphasis on understanding the effects of nanoscale structure, molecular transport, and spatial organization on biological processes. His work at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences on understanding the impact of material building block structure, environment, and interface architecture, on the formation of functional materials. This work emphasizes topics focused on understanding the dynamics of assembly processes and the response and reorganization of hierarchically assembled systems to local and global perturbations. Over the past decade Retterer has refined methods for integrating nanostructures, microfluidics and nanofluidics into functional assays and microfluidic culture systems. His research focuses on understanding how these platforms can be used to control and measure the physical and chemical environment within microfluidic platforms and understand how changes in this local environment impacts the development and function of complex biological systems.

Tuesday, January 21 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Science and Engineering Research Facility (SERF), 307
1414 Circle Dr, Knoxville, TN 37996

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations




Current Students, Faculty & Staff, General Public


CBE Seminar, CBE Spring 2020


Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

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