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Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 7246286, 11 pages
Research Article

Mathematical Modeling of Biofilm Structures Using COMSTAT Data

1Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA
2Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, Technical University of Denmark, Kogle Alle 6, 2970 Hørsholm, Denmark
3Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, James H. Clark Center, Stanford University, Rm E250, 318 Campus Drive, Stanford, CA 94305, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Davide Verotta

Received 10 August 2017; Revised 14 November 2017; Accepted 26 November 2017; Published 20 December 2017

Academic Editor: Michele Migliore

Copyright © 2017 Davide Verotta et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Mathematical modeling holds great potential for quantitatively describing biofilm growth in presence or absence of chemical agents used to limit or promote biofilm growth. In this paper, we describe a general mathematical/statistical framework that allows for the characterization of complex data in terms of few parameters and the capability to (i) compare different experiments and exposures to different agents, (ii) test different hypotheses regarding biofilm growth and interaction with different agents, and (iii) simulate arbitrary administrations of agents. The mathematical framework is divided to submodels characterizing biofilm, including new models characterizing live biofilm growth and dead cell accumulation; the interaction with agents inhibiting or stimulating growth; the kinetics of the agents. The statistical framework can take into account measurement and interexperiment variation. We demonstrate the application of (some of) the models using confocal microscopy data obtained using the computer program COMSTAT.