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Dr Nihal Bandara

Microbial communal interactions in many natural ecosystems, are yet to be fully unravelled. Hence my major research interest has been to elucidate physical and chemical interactions of microbes in competitive polymicrobial environments (fungal-bacterial biofilm communities in particular) to understand in depth the physiology of microbial communal lifestyle, as well as to define novel molecular pathways that can be targeted for translational research in future. In particular, the work I have undertaken thus far aims to characterize the response of the human fungal pathogen Candida to various bacterial quorum sensing signals (QSMs) using an inter–kingdom, fungal-bacterial interaction model system. Findings from my core research, such as the quorum sensing interaction between microbes, can be strategically translated to improve eco-balance in favour of beneficial organisms in host-parasite tussles or in industrial settings. Such possibilities not only include combating diseases (e.g. development of therapeutic agents to resolve catheter borne infections, biofilm mediated infections such as oral candidiasis, cystic fibrosis and root infections in plants, introducing probiotics to maintain gut microbiome), but also introducing beneficial microorganisms or their by-products to harmful microbial biofilms in industrial settings and other ecosystems (e.g. those that clog pipe borne water in effluent systems), introducing beneficial microbes to naturally fertilize farm fields, generating biofuel via biodegradation, purifying water and preserving dairy products.

Research keywords

  • Candida spp.
  • biofilms
  • microbial physiology
  • Candida-bacterial mixed species biofilms
  • Inter-microbial communication
  • quorum sensing
  • host-biofilm interactions
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • probiotics
  • natural anti-biofilm therapeutic agents
  • biofilm drug delivery
  • drug excipients
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • next generation sequencing
  • cystic fibrosis
  • oral candidiasis
  • salivary amino acids