Knut Drescher

2014 Regional Award Finalist — Post-Doc

Knut Drescher

Current Position:
Max Planck Research Group Leader

Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology (previously at Princeton University)

Immunology & Microbiology

Recognized for: Studying communication in bacteria (quorum sensing) and advancing our understanding of biofilm formation, structure and organization. 

Areas of Research Interest and Expertise: Biophysics, Mathematical Modeling, Molecular Biology, Microbiology

Knut Drescher


PhD, Biophysics, University of Cambridge, UK
MPhys, Physics, University of Oxford

Knut Drescher received his undergraduate education in physics at the University of Oxford, before pursuing a PhD in biological fluid mechanics with Raymond Goldstein at the University of Cambridge. He is now a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University, in the Department of Molecular Biology and in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, working between the labs of Bonnie Bassler, Howard Stone, and Ned Wingreen. His work focuses on development and evolution in biofilms of bacterial pathogens, in conditions that mimic their natural habitats.

Dr. Drescher combines genetics, biochemistry, modeling, and engineering approaches to investigate bacterial biofilms.  Using single live-cell imaging and other methods he has developed, he studies biofilm formation and follows cell growth to characterize the influence of flow on the structure and organization of pathogenic biofilms.  

"Bacterial biofilms cause plenty of terrible diseases. I want to understand how and why bacteria form these multicellular communities to eventually interfere with biofilm formation and the associated infections." 

Key Publications:

  1. K. Drescher, C.D. Nadell, H.A. Stone, N.S. Wingreen, B.L. Bassler. Solutions to the public goods dilemma in bacterial biofilms. Current Biology. 2014
  2. K. Drescher, Y. Shen, B.L. Bassler, H.A. Stone. Biofilm streamers cause catastrophic disruption of flow with consequences for environmental and medical systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2013
  3. K. Drescher, J. Dunkel, L.H. Cisneros, S. Ganguly, R.E. Goldstein. Fluid dynamics and noise in bacterial cell-cell and cell-surface scattering. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2011
  4. K. Drescher, R.E. Goldstein, I. Tuval. Fidelity of adaptive phototaxis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2010

Other Honors:

2014 Emmy Noether Award, German Research Foundation

In the Media:

Science Action: How is bacterial quorum sensing influenced by microfluidics? Princeton Science Action. Jun 3, 2013