Candida albicans biofilm formation

The ability of Candida albicans to adhere to surfaces and form mature biofilms is particularly problematic in patients with medical implants, such as catheters, artificial heart valves and joint replacements. Candida biofilms are highly antibiotic-resistant, complex cell communities that can serve as a reservoir of infection, since detached biofilm cells can disseminate to multiple body sites, resulting in life-threatening diseases like sepsis.

We study key properties of Candida-biofilms, e. g. initial adhesion or density under normoxia or hypoxia. Of particular interest are the local and temporal changes in the biofilm characteristics including pH variances or nutrient acquisition. In this context, we study single and mixed species biofilm formation on patient-derived central venous catheters.

Central venous catheters (CVC) are frequent sources of blood stream infections due to biofilm formation. We investigate C. albicans biofilm formation on CVC and aim to understand whether CVC-associated host and pathogenic factors contribute to the ability of C. albicans and other pathogens (e.g. Enterococcus feacalis) to form biofilms. (A) lateral hole of a CVC with C. albicans yeast cells and hyphae. (B) C. albicans and E. feacalis adhere to CVC surface (Electron microscopic center, University Hospital Jena)