Professor in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases
We are exploring the evolution, cell biology, and pathogenicity of Vibrio cholerae, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, and Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (including E. coli O157 and O104:H4), important causes of diarrheal disease in many parts of the world. Our work spans a large terrain that ranges from questions concerning basic mechanisms underlying bacterial cell processes (e.g. the genesis of cell polarity) to development of new therapeutics and vaccines. We often apply and develop emerging technologies (e.g. PacBio single molecule DNA sequencing) to issues we are exploring. We are addressing five questions and goals related to the human enteric pathogens we study:
1. Determining the mechanisms that mediate the replication and segregation of the two chromosomes found in all vibrio species.
2. Determing the factors and mechanisms that contribute to the establishment of cell polarity in vibrios.
3. Deciphering the functions regulated by D-amino acids and the mechanisms by which they control processes in single cells and bacterial communities.
4. Applying single molecule real time DNA sequencing to assess the extent, diversity and functional consequences of DNA modifications (e.g. methylation) in enteric pathogens.
5. Developing small animal models of enteric diseases that will enable comprehensive assessment of in vivo bacterial physiology and host-pathogen interactions, as well as testing of novel therapeutics.