Room A110, Cherry Emerson Building, 310 Ferst Drive, Georgia Tech, Atlanta 30332-0230
PhD, University of Nottingham, U.K. (2001)
Sociomicrobiology, quorum sensing, biofilms, antimicrobial resistance, virulence
It is being increasingly realized that bacteria communicate and cooperate to perform a wide range of multicellular behaviors such as dispersal, foraging, biofilm formation, chemical warfare and quorum sensing. Microbiologists have made huge strides forward, using molecular approaches, in determining how certain behaviors function. Despite this, answers are still lacking to some basic questions, such as why do these behaviors evolve, are they social, and how are they maintained in natural populations? We are interested in the evolution of microbial cooperative behaviors and signaling systems (quorum sensing) and the implications for the evolution of virulence and antibiotic resistance during infection. Our emphasis is on chronic infections such as those found in cystic fibrosis lungs, diabetic ulcers and non-healing wounds. The main organisms that we focus on are the antibiotic resistant superbugs Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus.