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Fatima AlZahra´a Alatraktchi holds a Ph.D. in nanophysics and is creating a buzz in the science and technology world. In this interesting, informative podcast she discusses her work and how we can learn so much from bacteria.

Fatima AlZahra´a Alatraktchi of DTU Nanotech is a celebrated nanophysicist and she was recently awarded the Ph.D. thesis of the year award for the groundbreaking work entitled, Micro- and nano-sensors for early diagnosis of bacterial infections. Fatima’s buzzworthy Ph.D. project was completed in collaboration with DTU Bioengineering, DTU Biosustain, as well as DTU Nanotech.

Fatima discusses her background and how she found her way into her current area of research. She recounts how she was extremely fascinated by the idea that bacteria actually communicate, talk to each other in a language that they can utilize to coordinate their activities. Over the years, her interest in this topic never waned and eventually, with a wealth of knowledge and education to her credit, she began to strategize on methods to isolate these molecules that enable bacteria communication, as a means to develop prediagnostic tools with the goal of diagnosing infections at an early stage. Fatima explains how the bacteria world parallels to the human world. She details how bacteria communicate and how they exhibit collective behavior, performing tasks to benefit the group or community and allowing it to thrive.

The nanophysics Ph.D. and science tech entrepreneur explains the ways that bacteria communicate and the sensors that she and her team have developed to understand the colonization. As she explains, bacteria behavior can even sometimes be seen with the naked eye in an exciting visual manner. The bacteria expert goes on to discuss cooperation between bacteria strains, explaining competition and domination within the bacterial communities. Fatima talks about how they work with their samples, regarding the molecules that bacteria secrete. She discusses her work in relation to the medical practices doctors use to detect infection, and as she states, it’s best to detect and treat infections early on.

Further, Fatima provides information on the types of bacteria they work with and their potential for furthering medical care. In her groundbreaking thesis, Fatima developed a method for detecting one of the most troubling and problematic types of bacteria. Her method is based upon a nanosensor and is simpler, quicker, and extremely more sensitive than any of the current methods that exist.

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