How do you explain the complexity of biofilms to those not familiar in the field?
Giving presentations and providing explanations are part of a researcher's life. But how exactly do you introduce biofilms to a layman? How do you make an undergraduate or a lawyer or a curious relative (not in the health sciences) understand them and the importance of a study of biofilms?
Well, during one of my MSc yearly presentations, I used a 'city' to explain biofilms. In my imagination (in attempt to link to the imagination of others), a biofilm can be attributed to the complexity of a city. Once it is established, it only grows in all aspects possible and becomes more and more difficult to eradicate. It requires multiple systems to operate and ways to communicate. Transportation systems and roads are like the water and nutrient channels in a biofilm. Facebook and Twitter are like quorum sensing molecules in a biofilm. High rise buildings are like the towering structures of a matured biofilm and of course the migrating population might as well be like the cells 'flying off' the mature biofilm, freely dispersed to go and colonise new surfaces, establishing new populations. And stopping the 'operation' of one of these systems can indeed paralyse a biofilm city.
So, how else can a biofilm be represented in daily conversations? I would like to hear from anyone willing to share some ideas. Thanks.