Research

The emergence of bacterial pathogens resistant to most antibiotics—even those of last resort—is an urgent threat to human health, and underscores the need for new antibiotics with novel modes of action (MOA). Antibiotics target essential processes, exerting complex effects on downstream gene networks. The impact of an antibiotic on gene networks—outside of the direct target—not only affects the MOA, but also influences whether drug combinations will be synergistic or antagonistic. Thus, mapping networks of genes involved in essential processes will allow us to identify novel synergistic therapies and define new cellular targets for antibiotics. My work will couple CRISPR-based functional genomics with cross-species analysis to perform a systematic analysis of gene networks, providing pioneering insights into the fundamental mechanisms by which bacteria respond to antibiotics and enable us to develop new strategies to fight bacterial infections. Current projects in the lab include: mapping regulatory networks in Escherichia coli, identifying new cell wall genes in Acinetobacter baumannii, and genetic engineering of Zymomonas mobilis for biofuel production.