I am interested in understanding the mechanisms H. pylori uses to adapt and persist within its human host during periods of chronic infection. To do this I take a functional genomics approach, using both next-gen sequence data to compare populations over time and basic genetic tools and techniques to identify specific factors that facilitate adaptation during chronic infection.
Along with making sure things run smoothly in the lab, I am also involved in many research projects. In particular I am interested in determining what genes are important for H. pylori colonization of the stomach, and what genes are necessary for its persistence.
My research expertise is in chronic bacterial infections and their impact on the host. In the Salama lab I am using mouse models and human tissue samples to investigate the molecular mechanism(s) through which chronic Helicobacter pylori infection leads to the development of gastric cancer.
I am studying how cytoskeletal cell shape-determining proteins discovered by the Salama Lab interact to pattern H. pylori’s helical cell shape. To investigate how these proteins interact with themselves, other proteins, and the peptidoglycan cell wall, I am utilizing molecular genetics, biochemical techniques, fluorescence microscopy and transmission electron microscopy to gain a better understanding of how these proteins form structures that guide cell wall synthesis and pattern cell shape.
I am interested in how Helicobacter pylori lives up to its genus name - how it generates its characteristic helical shape. Using biochemical techniques, I am working to determine the physical interaction network among a number of proteins, discovered by previous lab members, that are important for proper shape phenotype. I am also interested in determining the sub-cellular localization of these proteins using fluorescence microscopy and transmission electron microscopy with immunogold labeling. Additional work may expand to identifying sites of new peptidoglycan synthesis as it relates to helical cell shape and the cell shape-determining proteins.