In the Whiteley Lab, we are interested in the social lives of bacteria. Currently we are utilizing new technologies combined with classical genetic techniques to address questions about microbial physiology, ecology, virulence, and evolution. In particular we are working on tackling the following questions:
- How do bacteria communicate?
- How do polymicrobial interactions impact physiology and virulence?
- How do bacteria evolve in the host?
- How do nutrients available at infection sites impact behavior and virulence?
With a large variety of resources at UT Austin we are taking advantage of several unique opportunities for collaboration. With the Shear lab in the chemistry department we are using multiphoton lithography and confocal microscopy to study small microbial communities in “bacterial lobster traps” that often mimic the sizes of populations observed in nature more accurately than traditional, dense batch culture techniques. With the UT Genome Sequencing and Analysis Facility and the Texas Advanced Computing Center we are harnessing high-throughput sequencing methods including RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) and transposon sequencing (Tn-Seq).