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Darla Goeres assumes the role of Coordinator of CBE Industrial Development, upon the retirement of Paul Sturman, who successfully served in the role for 20 years.

1,373 peer-reviewed biofilm papers published since 1990.

CBE hosts first-ever workshop dedicated to the emerging field of Engineered Living Materials (ELMs); Chelsea Heveran, CBE affiliate faculty, lands a $3 million NSF grant to study ELMs.

$7 million in new research grants.

CBE affiliate faculty Roland Hatzenpichler and Heidi Smith are two of only 13 scientists to win funding through the DOE’s Facilities Integrating Collaborations for User Science program.

113 students conduct research at CBE, led heavily by females 73 to 40.

The Sept. 27, 2023, edition of The Economist news magazine highlighted the CBE in a feature story about the deadly impact of biofilms.


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CBE Bioimaging Facility installs more than $1 million in new equipment, making it the most advanced microscopy lab tailored to biofilm research in the world

85,000 total publication citations since 1990 

CBE researchers earn grants totaling $6.4 million to support research that could move a strain of algae closer toward a practical and sustainable biofuel source while removing CO2 from the air

$9.4 million in new research grants

Carlson sends a protein-rich fungi to ISS to test its viability as a potential food source for Mars-bound astronauts 

120 students conduct research at CBE, led heavily by females 72 to 48

The annual Montana Biofilm Meeting draws scores of in-person attendees to Bozeman after COVID forced the gathering to be online-only in 2020 and 2021

CBE launches Q&A-format podcast called “Biofilm First” that features top researchers talking about their current projects and the potential impacts


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CBE wins two EPSCoR grants from NASA to research “biofilms in space”

CBE collaborates with international biofilm centers to initiate an International Biofilm Standards Task Group

NSF awards CBE, TBI $3 million grant to support innovative graduate research on extreme microbes

DOE names Matthew Fields to energy advisory committee

119 students conduct research at CBE, led heavily by females, 69 to 50

ASTM approves E3321 Intraluminal Catheter Test Method

CBE works with international consortium to establish “priority questions” to help shape future biofilm research

$4.3 million in new research grants

$1 million raised through 53 testing projects for 35 sponsors


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CBE celebrates its 30th anniversary!

1,247 peer-reviewed papers published

Over 900 undergraduates (including 7 Goldwater Scholars) conducted biofilm research

Over 250 graduate students awarded advanced degrees

313 visiting researchers have studied biofilm at CBE

CBE launches new outreach effort with its annual Pathways to Product Development regulatory meetings

Funded interaction with more than 150 companies (members & project sponsors)

CBE conceptual graphics downloaded by all 50 states and 59 countries


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  • Montana University System names Phil Stewart a Regents Professor
  • CBE industrial associate STERIS earns first EPA biofilm claim using testing method developed at CBE
  • NASA solicits ideas from CBE to solve biofilm problem on the International Space Station
  • DOE grant facilitates 4 CBE researchers to collaborate with other universities on algae-based biofuel research (Carlson, Fields, Gerlach, Peyton)
  • CBE debuts documentary on biofilm at Montana Biofilm Meeting
  • Christine Foreman joins 32 scientists in issuing strong warning regarding microbes’ contribution to climate change
  • 52 testing projects for 34 industrial sponsors that generated $687,520 in funding
  • 98 graduate and undergraduate students involved in research at the CBE


Photos of CBE personnel who contributed in 2018


  • US EPA adopts standard testing methods for product efficacy developed at CBE
  • Phil Stewart and Garth James part of NIH-funded grant addressing chronic wounds
  • $7.8 million in new resarch grants
  • Connie Chang earns NSF CAREER Award
  • 60 testing projects for 29 industrial sponsors
  • Gerlach, et al awarded $1.8M NSF grant to study methane-converting microbes
  • 114 undergraduates and graduate students involved in biofilm projects at the CBE

Milestones 20172017

  • 50 peer-reviewed publications
  • US Army Research Office Award: Dr. Ross Carlson awarded $655,000 to study chronic wound treatment
  • Connie Chang shares in $5.2 million DARPA grant to develop virus-fighting technology
  • Standardized Biofilm Methods Lab publishes web-based training videos for the operation of two biofilm reactors
  • Garth James participates in international biofilm expert panel that calls for a change in traditional wound-care practice. Supporting article: “The prevalence of biofilms in chronic wounds: A systematic review and meta-analysis of published data,” (James GA, et al) J Wound Care 2017 Jan 2; 26(1):20-25.
  • CBE becomes an international collaborator to the Anti-Microbial Coating Innovations Action Network (AMiCI), a European cooperation of science and technology leaders
  • 67 testing and research projects for 30 industrial sponsors
2016 Milestones


  • Matthew Fields selected as the CBE's 4th director
  • Undergraduate student participation reached a record high of 76 students with 64% female participation 
  • CBE Standardized Biofilm Methods Lab conducted methods development and application workshop at the 7th ASM Conference on Biofilms
  • Nature Publishing Group publishes 3 papers by CBE researchers
  • CBE shares in $1 million grant to study heat-seeking microbes in the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park (Peyton, Fields, Gerlach, Carlson, et al)
  • Al Parker receives EPA Scientific and Technological Achievement Award
  • CBE hosts 3rd annual Anti-Biofilm Technologies: Pathways to Product Development meeting in Washington D.C.
  • Jim Wilking awarded NSF CAREER Award
  • CBE Bioprocessing Lab marks significant milestone toward commercialization of fracture sealing process for oil and gas wells



CBE celebrates its 25th anniversary!

  • 1,024 peer-reviewed papers published
  • Over 730 undergraduates (including 7 Goldwater Scholars) conducted biofilm research 
  • Over 235 graduate students awarded advanced degrees
  • Funded interaction with more than 100 companies (members & project sponsors)
  • 5 biofilm methods accepted by ASTM
  • 270 visiting researchers have studied biofilm at CBE
  • CBE conceptual graphics downloaded by all 50 states and 59 countries


  • CBE partnered with the FDA to co-sponsor the FDA's first public biofilm workshop
  • CBE authors published 50 papers in 39 different journals
  • Student participation reached a record high of 55 graduate and 55 undergraduate students
  • NIH grants totaling $3.8M awarded to CBE PIs Carlson, Franklin, and Stewart
  • 73 testing and research projects for industrial sponsors
  • Four new CBE-affiliated facultyConnie ChangEllen LauchnorAdie Phillips, and Jim Wilking—were appointed to assistant professorships in engineering departments.



  • Anne Camper appointed MSU Regents Professor and honored by the National Academy of Inventors
  • Warren Jones receives Lifetime Achievement Awared for efforts to improve Montana drinking water 
  • Industrial Associates Program reaches new high of 38 members
  • 58 testing and research projects for industrial sponsors
  • 2 Goldwater Scholars: Alissa Bleem and Matthew Sherick
  • Of 91 total undergraduate and graduate students, 56% are female



  • 95 undergraduates and graduate students involved in biofilm projects at the CBE
  • 48 research and testing projects sponsored by 37 companies
  • "Treatment Flow Cell" developed by CBE team to image and analyze biofilm treatments microscopically in real time
  • Single Tube Method approved: ASTM Test Method E2871-12 “Standard test method for evaluating disinfectant efficacy against Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm grown in CDC biofilm reactor using single tube method”
  • CBE hosts international workshop Biofilm-Induced Mineralization: Modeling and Experiment, sponsored by NSF—Collaboration in Mathematical Geosciences (CMG) and the CBE
  • CBE Image Library downloads from 39 countries and 42 of the United States



  • 33 members in the CBE's Industrial Associates Program
  • 33 research/testing projects for 25 different companies
  • 4th biofilm standard method approved by ASTM: Method E2799-11, titled “Standard Test Method for Testing Disinfectant Efficacy against Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilm Using the MBEC Assay,” April 2011.
  • New grants from NSF, NASA, and DOE for projects on bacterial ecology in icy niches, biofuels, and subsurface carbon sequestration
  • 52 peer-reviewed publications
  • Women represent 46% of the 48 CBE undergrads and 59%  of the 41 CBE graduate students
  • 15 visiting researchers from Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Germany, France, South Africa, Korea, Russia, Mexico, Norway, China, and United States: Oregon, Montana, Virginia, and Massachusetts




  • CBE's 20 year Anniversary: 2010 marked the 20th anniversary of the CBE's National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center award
  • 197 graduated MS and PhD students since 1990
  • Over 510 undergraduates involved in CBE research projects since 1990
  • Million dollar grant award for microscopes: NSF and M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust grants combine to provide CBE with state of the art Leica confocal microscopes for huge advances in biofilm imaging and study (Stewart, Pitts, et al.)
  • Young Investigators program initiated to recognize promising junior researchers in the biofilm field outside of the MSU-CBE; awardees present their research at Montana Biofilm Meetings
  • Journal cover: Journal of Clinical and Translational Science (Agostinho, James, et al.)
  • NSF Award in wetlands study: Drs. Otto Stein, Anne Camper and Mark Burr were awarded a $303K grant: “Plant, season, and microbial controls on complete denitrification in treatment wetlands”





  • $2 million grant to study diesel-producing South American fungus (Strobel, CarlsonPeyton, et al)
  • Wound Biofilm Retreat draws scientists, clinicians and industry representatives
  • ASTM International standard approved: E2647, "Test Method for Quantification of a Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilm Grown Using a Drip Flow Biofilm Reactor with Low Shear and Continuous Flow"
  • Journal cover: Chemical and Engineering News (Sanchez and Pitts)
  • CBE shares in $1.4 million grant for carbon sequestration research (Cunningham et al.)
  • Kane Biotech and CBE featured on "The Economic Report"




  • 5-year renewal for collaborative DOE grant: VIMSS:ESPP2. Fields, MSU, awarded $1.6 million
  • EPA awards $1.7 million for antimicrobial test methodology (Goeres et al.)
  • ASTM approves E2647 Drip Flow Reactor Method 
  • Textbook coverMicrobiology: A Systems Approach, Cowan and Talaro (Swogger et al.)
  • Journal coverWound Repair and Regeneration, Jan-Feb (Swogger et al.)
  • Featured article in Nature Reviews | Microbiology (Stewart PS and Franklin MJ)
  • Science Brevia: Christner BC et al. (CBE author: Foreman, CM)



  • Biofilm Mechanics International Workshop, Bozeman, June 29-30
  • Journal coverJournal of Bacteriology, June (Abdul Rani et al.)
  • ASTM approves E2562 CDC Biofilm Reactor Method
  • Qiagen licenses method for distinguishing between live and dead bacteria in molecular assays
  • Fundamentals of Biofilm Research published, Lewandowski & Beyenal
  • 3D computer model analysis of 3 biofilm detachment mechanisms
  • Over 690 peer-reviewed papers published since 1990 (avg. 40/year)
  • ISIInstitution with most biofilm papers published since 1990: Montana State University
  • ISI: Authors with most biofilm papers published: 1) Costerton; 3) Stewart; 5) Lewandowski; 7) Stoodley
  • ISITop Cited Papers since 1990: #2, #3, and #4 were from CBE authors



  • NIH Chronic Wound grant awarded
  • NSF award for BIOFILMS: The Hypertextbook, Cunningham, Ross
  • 19 visiting researchers conduct work at CBE
  • Journal cover: ASM Applied & Environmental Engineering (Chambless et al.)



  • Phil Stewart selected as CBE’s 3rd director
  • DoD funds equipment for Mass Spectrometry Facility
  • CBE CDC biofilm reactor standardized method submitted to ASTM
  • Development of standard method for assessing efficacy of dental unit water line antimicrobials
  • Journal cover: SGM Microbiology (Chambless et al.)
  • Journal cover: SGM Microbiology (Xavier et al.)
  • Modeling protection from antimicrobials via persister cell formation
  • 3D cellular automata model of antimicrobial action on biofilm
  • 2005-0632 graduate students; 36 undergraduates



  • Bill Costerton retires from MSU
  • REU (NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates) program end year
  • CBE Medical Biofilm Laboratory established
  • Journal coverJournal of Magnetic Resonance (Gjersing et al.)
  • Journal coverBiophotonics (Harrer et al.)
  • CBE team organizes IWA international Biofilms Conference, Las Vegas; Lewandowski
  • Pan-American Advanced Studies Institutes (PASI) workshops organized by CBE & University of Concepción, Chile
  • Physical Review Letters publishes 2 papers by CBE researchers
  • Modeling antibiotic resistance in biofilms, accounting for nutrient limitation



  • 3rd ASM Biofilms Conference in Victoria, BC
  • New confocal microscope, flow cytometer and image analysis facilities funded by Murdock Charitable Trust
  • Microscope Resource Room created, dedicated to microscope image analysis
  • Bioglyphs project selected as semifinalist in Science and NSF “Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge
  • Biofilms studied using NMR microscopy for fluid flow patterns & diffusive properties of biofilm
  • CBE undergraduate Cory Rupp receives NSF Graduate Fellowship ($121,500)


  • ASTM approves E2196 Rotating Disk Reactor Method
  • DoD grant for engineered biofilms to detect bioterrorist agents in drinking water systems
  • CBE workshops held at Danish Technical University (Denmark) and University of New South Wales (Australia)
  • CDC biofilm reactor designed
  • Extensive phenotypic changes in biofilm described


  • Scientific American article: Costerton, Stewart
  • Lancet article: Stewart
  • CBE ‘graduates’ from the NSF-ERC program grant
  • Microsensors / Structure-Function workshops initiated
  • CBE UG Laura Jennings receives Goldwater scholarship
  • Field-scale demonstration of biobarriers (100ft. x 20 ft.) to reduce ground water flow 3 orders of magnitude
  • Workshop for FDA and EPA regulators at summer Technical Advisory Conference


  • CBE co-hosts ASM Biofilms 2000 Conference, Big Sky, MT
  • W.M. Keck Foundation awards $800k grant for students
  • First issue of BiofilmsOnline published
  • Centers for Disease Control modifies rotating disk reactor design
  • New MSU “Microbes in the Environment” class offered by CBE faculty & staff
  • New Research Area in Standardized Biofilm Methods
  • Nature News Feature: “Slimebusters” covers CBE research


  • Review article appears in Science: Costerton & Stewart
  • Business Week “Science & Technology” references CBE in “Getting a grip on bacterial slime”


  • Science article, Cell Signaling: Davies, Parsek, Pearson, Iglewski, Costerton, Greenberg
  • Bioavailability’ research area replaces ‘Surface Interactions’
  • Development of local density and local mass transport rate microsensors (intra-microcolony)
  • Model development to predict pressure drop in conduits colonized by biofilms
  • New research initiative in Biomineralization
  • New model developed integrating mechanisms of transport and physiological limitation
  • Physiological heterogeneity described by genetic expression
  • Study of cell signaling role in detachment
  • Respirometry equipment added to BSTL lab ($223,000; NSF-EEC grant)



  • CBE moves into new EPS building
  • New Leica TCS-NT CSLM and light microscopes ($400,000; NSF-ERC major equipment grant)
  • Drip flow reactor developed



  • ASM 1st Conference on Biofilms, Snowbird, Utah; Costerton, Organizing Committee Chair 320 delegates from 14 countries
  • Science: “Biofilms Invade Microbiology”
  • “Today the CBE is a haven of interdisciplinary work, with graduate students from 10 departments working in interdisciplnary teams. Engineering students clone genes, microbiologists construct mathematical models, and mathematicians learn biochemistry, all to solve real-world problems.”  Science, Vol. 273, Sept. 27, 1996
  • ASM News Education Feature: Costerton, Sears, Zelver
  • Biofilm viscoelasticity recorded and measured using CSLM time lapse
  • Demonstration that HSLs influence biofilm architecture
  • Conoco sponsors gasoline bioremediation course in Garrison, Montana
  • Biofilm Systems Training Laboratory (BSTL) created for students and industry visitors, visiting researchers
  • Software development to analyze biofilm structure-function from CSLM images
  • Pre-TAC Biofilm Methods workshops begin
  • Use of ‘artificial biofilms’ to test antimicrobial penetration and efficacy
  • Physiological tolerance to biocides demonstrated
  • Several computer models studied simultaneously to adapt them for multi-dimensional studies



  • Rotating disk reactor developed, progenitor of CDC reactor
  • Phenotypic differences identified between planktonic/sessile cells
  • Quantification of antimicrobial reaction-diffusion
  • Initial attachment events study switches from topography to surface chemistry
  • Cellular automata model tested with bacterial adsorption lab studies (2-D surface)
  • Bioremediation education workshops for EPA Regions VII & VIII, funded by HSRC
  • Biobarrier testbed developed with MSE, Inc., funded by DOE, student education opportunity
  • Successful modeling of sulfide production in simple porous media systems
  • 24 Industrial Associate members
  • Adhesion to surface up-regulates genes in alginate synthesis pathways of P. aeruginosa
  • pBAM model developed (Szego, CBE)


  • Microsensors design, development, measurement 
  • Cryoembedding and cryosectioning methods developed to analyze biofilms
  • Spatial physiological gradients identified in antimicrobial treatment
  • Confirmation of multiple biofilm heterogeneities, via microelectrodes, sensors, CSLM
  • Proof of water flow through channels in biofilm communities (CSLM time-lapse)
  • Use of microsensors in vapor phase bioremediation, for NJIT vapor phase model
  • Measurement of chlorine penetration into biofilm



  • Costerton joins CBE as director
  • Center name changed to “Center for Biofilm Engineering
  • Microsensor Laboratory created
  • MSU agreement with BioSurface Technologies Corp., MT, to manufacture, market, and sell the Annular Reactor
  • AWWARF project funding for drinking water studies
  • Model of biofilm detachment developed



  • Founding director, Bill Characklis dies
  • Rotating annular reactor developed (rototorque)
  • Full scale testbed facility established at Bozeman Municipal Water Treatment Plant
  • The Center's first Confocal Scanning Laser Microscope acquired ($234,000)
  • 10 disciplines represented by undergrad and graduate students
  • 1992-93:  Effects of surface roughness on adhesion of cells / Initial attachment events
  • 1992-93:  Pitting corrosion / SRB activity



  • “Generic” biofilm accumulation computer model (BAM) with a biocide component
  • NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) summer program begins
  • Research initiatives in: Biofouling/Biocorrosion of Industrial Water Systems, Microbially Induced Souring in Petroleum Formations, Bioremediation of Soil and Water Contaminated with Petroleum Hydrocarbons
  • 43 active research projects
  • Patent for Center-developed biofilm coupon
  • First cross-disciplinary biofilm courses offered
  • Symposium and research initiative on petroleum reservoir souring 
  • DOW Chemical & Conoco supported grad student fellowships
  • Alpha Lab testbed facility created (to test and demonstrate Center-developed methodologies and technologies)



  • NSF awards $7.5 million ERC grant (Center for Interfacial Microbial Process Engineering)
  • Center moves into contiguous labs & offices; staff hired
  • 1990-92: Work begins on integrating ResearchEducation, and Technology Transfer
  • 1990-92:  Scale-up of projects from bench to field (Micro-, Meso-, Macroscale)
  • 1990-93:  4 biofilm engineering courses developed: 1 biofilm microbiology course developed



  • Characklis starts the Institute for Biological & Chemical Process Analysis (IPA) and develops its industrial program (12 members)
  • Characklis and Marshall write first edition of “Biofilms”



  • Characklis joins MSU faculty