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Mob Mentality: ​Bacteria send signals before massing for an attack. 海伦·布莱克韦尔 has discovered how to listen in, and block deadly cells’​ ability to swarm.

通过 路易莎·坎普斯
for Sift & Winnow, first published 这里

什么时候 海伦·布莱克韦尔 describes how disease-causing bacteria become virulent, it’s hard not to imagine the little buggers whistling to each other in a dark alley, like bad guys getting ready to rumble.

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Learning about deadly bacterial cells’ ability to suddenly swarm or form slimy protective coatings, known as biofilms, around themselves “blew my mind,” Blackwell recalls. But then she began to wonder if she could change how bacteria behave.

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“Thinking about how bacteria work together collectively, as opposed to just as individuals, makes science harder to do,” Blackwell says with a smile. “But in the end, the answer will be so much more interesting.”