Gram-negative cell envelope; Systems Biology; Antimicrobial resistance; Biofilms; High-throughput screening;
1. Chemical genomics screens
Bacterial chemical-genomics screens can quantify the impact of each gene on the fitness of the organism subjected to a large number of chemical/environmental perturbations. Chemical-genomics enables the discovery of gene function and facilitates the mapping of pathways, often leading to the identification of drug primary/secondary targets. My laboratory develops chemical genomics screens for important pathogens.
2. Gram-negative envelope biology
Gram-negative bacteria are difficult to eradicate as their cell envelope protects them against environmental insults, such as food preservatives and antimicrobials. Gram-negative bacterial cell envelopes hold special interest because of their dual property as both structural elements, and permeability barriers. The permeability barrier is conferred by the asymmetric lipid bilayer referred to as the outer membrane, which restricts cell entry for toxic compounds, including many antibiotics. Understanding which genes within the bacteria are playing a role in maintaining this envelope is fundamental to understanding its biology. Despite this, genome-wide screens to assay envelope integrity in Gram-negative bacteria are largely missing. My laboratory develops high-throughput approach to systematically assay envelope integrity for important pathogens.
3. Peptidoglycan synthesis
How bacteria grow and divide while retaining a defined shape is a fundamental question in microbiology. My laboratory studies how the shape-maintaining bacterial peptidoglycan sacculus grows combining systems and molecular biology.