Dr. Martin Schuster and graduate student Parker Smith have identified a mechanism that allows bacteria to wait for collective communication within groups of cells, preventing signal “short-circuiting” by individual cells.  Bacterial communication relies on chemical signaling molecules that regulate gene expression in a process known as quorum sensing.  Quorum sensing coordinates many different collective behaviors in bacterial populations such as infection, biofilm formation, microbial warfare, and nutrient acquisition.  Publ. in the Proc. of the Natl. Acad. of Sciences June 13, 2022.