The Secret Language of Bacteria and How It Is Affecting Global Health.

Bacteria act as a family after a patient becomes infected. They grow together, reproduce and share resources. In the bacteria world, everything is fine, until a new family of bacteria move-in next door. When one member of the bacteria family decides to enjoy the company of a member of the other bacteria family, the unexpected happens.

In her talk at TEDxAarhus, Fatima Alzahra’a Alatraktchi discusses how bacteria communicate with each other. Bacteria family 1, The Montague’s, want to be the only bacteria infecting the patient. So when a member of the Montague family shares genetic material with Bacteria family 2, Capulet, The Montague’s status is threatened. When the bacteria gene makeup is shared, it poses threats to the Capulet bacteria family in building resistance to antibiotics.

The Montague’s do not want them around, aka to build up resistance to the antibiotic, so they release a molecule to get rid of the other family. Both bacteria families start fighting to get rid of the other one. Alatraktachi’s research video shows bacteria battling each other by attempting to rupture each other. Whichever family wins the battle, becomes the dominant bacteria in a patient.

Nanophysicist Fatima Alzahra’a Alatraktchi invented a tool to spy on bacterial chatter and translate their secret communication into human language. Her work could pave the way for early diagnosis of disease — before we even get sick.

Watch Alzahra’a Alatraktchi TEDxAarhus speech to learn more about how bacteria are communicating and affecting global health, and hear the story of a young girl with Cystic Fibrosis.