Introducing: Professor Scott A Rice

The npj Biofilms and Microbiomes Community team asked me to introduce myself to the community by answering these 5 questions…

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1) If I had to describe what I do in 3 sentences I’d say…

My research has largely focused on microbial cell-cell signalling and biofilm development, with a view to manipulate those processes to control bacterial behaviours. Lately, my research has taken on the exploration of microbial communities, focused on biofilms, to better understand how bacteria interact to establish and maintain mixed species consortia. These experimental systems, which range from relatively simple three species communities to hundreds of species are addressing concepts such as synergism within communities, mixed metabolism and the relative importance of genetic variation in the function of communities.

2) This isn’t where I started out, however. My career path to date has looked like this…

I have worked in a number of different areas, including some high-pressure (deep sea) microbiology, epigenetic elements (multi-copy, single-stranded DNA) in myxobacteria, a brief stint working on motor neuron disease and enteroviruses and a bit of stress-adaptation across the years.

3) The reason I decided to join the npj Biofilms and Microbiomes Community is…

Microbial biofilm research has been pervasive in the literature for the past 30+ years, but has been spread across a range of journals. While I think that is largely great, it demonstrates that biofilm research impacts on a range of sub-disciplines in Microbiology, it is nice to see a ‘home’ for biofilms and microbiomes. As such, this forum becomes a potentially interesting space for discussion of related topics.

4) My key areas of interest, on which I’d especially like to hear from community members, are…

Community interactions are my current interest. What are the genes, proteins and metabolites that govern interactions, positive or negative, between organisms that drive how they associate with each other? Additionally, what are the consequences of such interactions for community members?

5) And if I had to choose one topic on which I’m especially able to answer questions it’d be…

That is a tough question as I have always considered myself a generalist, jack of all trades (but master of none). If I had to choose, it would probably be around the mechanisms of biofilm development and microbial interactions.

If you are interested in my areas of research, I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to comment below, send me a message or ask a question via Q&A.

Scott A Rice

Associate Professor, Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering

A/Prof. Rice’s research programme is centered on how and why bacteria form matrix encased biofilms. The goal of such research is to define the molecular pathways that control the biofilm life-cycle, with a particular interest in those processes that regulate the switch between planktonic and biofilm growth. Such knowledge can be used to manipulate the biofilm in a directed fashion to either encourage or discourage biofilm formation as needed. His group works on a variety of biofilm systems, ranging from single species populations to increasingly more complex multispecies systems, which are more representative of natural biofilms. Current projects include the continued development and investigation of a simple three species biofilm consortia, focusing on the mechanisms and consequences of microbial interactions. He is also keenly interested in how bacteriophage may contribute to the development of biofilms, as opposed to their role as killing agents. Predation is a primary environmental factor responsible for the killing of bacteria and A/Prof. Rice is investigating how bacteria respond to predators. Another aspect of his research focuses on the application of nitric oxide, a bacterial signal, to control biofilm formation for medical and industrial applications.


Go to the profile of Jen Thoroughgood
about 7 years ago
Welcome to the community Scott! We look forward to hearing more from you in the weeks ahead.