There are currently two major research projects in our lab. The first focuses on spatial organization of proteins within a bacterial cell. We focus our studies on the chemotaxis systems within Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and seek to elucidate how protein localization is correlated to function. In this project, we are investigating the connection between polar localization and function of the Chp chemosensory system. In addition, we are also investigating the mechanism of partitioning chemotaxis proteins that regulate flagellar based motility.
The second project focuses on the role of pyomelanin in Pseudomonas aeruginosa virulence. Pyomelanin is an extracellular pigment produced by some clinical isolates. Pyomelanin protects P. aeruginosa from the immune response, by providing protection from oxidative stress. Inhibition of pyomelanin production results in increased sensitivity to oxidative stress, and results in increased bacterial death. We hope to develop an anti‑virulence agent that can be used in conjunction with antibiotics to increase clearing of infections. By targeting a non-essential virulence factor (pyomelanin), it is unlikely that resistance to the anti‑virulence agent will occur.