Magnets in bacteria? Brian Lower stumps a lot of people when he first mentions magnetic bacteria. So he’ll take out a pen and draw them. Or he might show a video of them moving about a screen, appearing as ants. When a magnet is placed nearby, they immediately align close to the magnet, like soldiers milling about then suddenly called into a lineup. As intriguing as they may be to watch, magnetic bacteria also have potential for practical use to send cancer-fighting drugs to a particular part of the human body and to store a signficiant amount of data on a small chip.
Professor Steven Lower’s new five-year grant of just over $3 million dollars ($3,002,203) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will allow him to continue his innovative, cross-disciplinary research on the potentially deadly blood infection caused by bacterial cells that attach to implanted cardiac devices. This affects approximately four percent of the one million patients receiving these implants each year.