The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
The research in my laboratory is directed at understanding the genetics of bacterial infection from both the pathogen and the host’s perspectives. Specifically we have developed C. elegans as a model host for Enterococcus faecalis pathogenesis, to elucidate mechanisms of host defense and bacterial virulence.
Projects in my laboratory include (1) characterization of how the worm produces reactive oxygen species (ROS) in response to pathogens, a defense mechanism analogous to the oxidative burst that occurs in human phagocytic cells. We are in the process of identifying the machinery and the regulators that generate this response and characterizing its role in C. elegans immunity. Additionally, a screen for E. faecalis virulence determinants using C. elegans identified ethanolamine utilization as important during infection. A second project (2) is currently investigating how ethanolamine utilization is regulated in E. faecalis. We have discovered several novel mechanisms of post-transcriptional regulation that are actively being studied.
Education & Training
Ph.D. - Harvard University - 1999
C. elegans as a model host for understanding the genetics of bacterial infection