Research in my laboratory is focused on:
Understanding survival mechanisms and pathogenesis of foodborne zoonotic pathogen, Campylobacter. We are investigating the contribution of chemoreceptors, polyphosphate (poly P) and Twin Arginine Translocation (TAT) system dependent proteins in C. jejuni stress responses and virulence mechanisms and identify C. jejuni components that are regulated by these systems, understand their role in C. jejuni colonization in food producing animals as well as C. jejuni induced disease pathogenesis using animal models, and use these information to develop novel antimicrobial strategies against Campylobacter in humans as well as in food animal reservoirs. Particularly, we are interested in targeting Campylobacter proteins critical for its survival and virulence through high throughput chemical screening and targeting surface proteins as subunit vaccines.
Elucidating molecular mechanisms of how gut microflora modulates gut permeability and intestinal homeostasis and its impact on pathogenesis of enteric pathogens. Particularly, we are looking at how different lactic acid bacteria modulate host cellular pathways using high throughput microarray analysis in a gnotobiotic pig model. Further we are interested in studying the interaction of different probiotic bacteria with enteric pathogens.
Visualizing in real-time the dynamics of in vivo colonization of bacterial pathogens using novel methodologies. We have applied bioluminescent imaging combined with transposon mutagenesis to gain greater insight into plant-phytopathogens as well as plant-foodborne pathogens interactions to (i) monitor infection over time (ii) identify sites of bacterial colonization, and (iii) study the dynamics of infection including patterns of growth and clearance of bacteria in specific tissues. Further, we are combining this sensitive, real-time assay with high throughput chemical screening to identify effective sanitization strategies to control foodborne human pathogens as well as phytopathogens.