Bacteria are unicellular, prokaryotic organisms that live all around and within us, usually without incident. However, a number of important bacterial pathogens can cause opportunistic infections that are severe or life threatening. The bacteriologists within the Section have made numerous contributions to our understanding of how bacteria cause disease.
Genome-wide siRNA screening for host factors involved in microbial pathogenesis; actin-based motility of Listeria monocytogenes (which causes food-borne illness) and other bacterial pathogens.
Tick-borne transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi (the causative agent of Lyme disease) and Anaplasma phagocytophilum (which causes human granulocytic anaplasmosis); innate immune responses and vaccine design.
Bacterial type III secretion systems; virulence determinants of food-borne pathogens Salmonellatyphimurium, S. typhi, and Campylobacter jejuni.
Microbial communities within the gut; the relationship between microbiota composition and function; functional genome-wide analysis.
Bacterial two-component signal transduction in Salmonella enterica (which causes gastroenteritis and typhoid fever), Yersinia pestis (which causes bubonic plague), and Escherichia coli (which is a commensal bacteria of the gut); genetic networks and differential gene control; riboswitches.
Pediatric infectious diseases; Virulence of Streptococcus pneumoniae, which can cause pneumonia, sinusitis, meningitis, bacteremia, sepsis, and other infections.
Bacterial cell biology, morphology, and cell division of Caulobacter crescentus.
Virulence factors of Pseudomonas aeruginosa; bacterial biofilm formation.
Innate immunity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis; interferon-induced GTPases.
Remodeling of the host cellular secretory pathway by Legionella pneumophila (Legionnaire’s disease) and Coxiella burnetii (Q fever) effector proteins; bacterial evasion of innate immune responses.