Shapeshifting enables some bacteria to grow more resilient to antibiotics

New research led by Carnegie Mellon University Assistant Professor of Physics Shiladitya Banerjee demonstrates how certain types of bacteria can adapt to long-term exposure to antibiotics by changing their shape. The work was published in the journal Nature Physics. Adaptation is a fundamental biological process driving organisms to change their traits and behavior to better fit their environment, whether it be the famed diversity of finches observed by pioneering biologist Charles Darwin or the many varieties of bacteria that humans coexist with. While antibiotics have long helped people prevent and cure bacterial infections, many species of bacteria have increasingly been able to adapt to resist antibiotic treatments.