Research topics

Molecular Microbial Ecology

SEM image of bacetial biofilmIn our lab, we are interested in the beneficial activities of soil bacterial communities. In the soil, bacterial communities are highly beneficial to other organisms, by preventing the growth of various pathogens. Bacterial communities also have an active role in the bioremediation of contaminated soils. We would like to understand the molecular mechanisms that allow beneficial bacteria to communicate with each other and with their host. We are also trying to understand how plants influence the interactions between bacterial communities in the rhizosphere.




Development Of Microbial Communities

While classically bacteria are thought of as unicellular organisms in nature they exist in complex "multicellular" states - biofilms. We are looking at the different ways bacteria communicate and coordinate cell-fate decisions during their development. This includes cell motility within biofilm and biofilms dispersal. Additionally, we are working on further understanding the role of biomineralization, the formation of 3D mineral scaffolds in the bacterial differentiation. 






Antibiotic Production and Resistance

Soil contains a multitude of bacteria that naturally produce antibiotics. In our lab, we study the molecular mechanisms of action of antibiotics on rival species during bacterial competition, as well as characterize novel antibiotics, produced in the soil. We also investigate the evolution of antibiotic production and resistance alleles in complex soil communities.