We use an interdisciplinary approach to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying fundamental cellular processes. Research designs incorporate structural biology, biophysics, biochemistry, and cell biology with a particular focus on protein structure-function studies.Research
Bacteria are constantly challenged with changing environments, which can lead to more beneficial or more hostile conditions for the microbe. They react to these external cues - e.g. nutrients, changes in microbiome composition, antibiotics and host factors - by adjusting their physiological processes. One such process is biofilm formation, the regulated switch from a free-floating to a sessile, community lifestyle. Biofilms form on biotic and abiotic surfaces. They occur in natural, industrial, and hospital settings. We study the signal transduction pathways that control bacterial biofilm formation.
We study the mechanisms that drive membrane fusion and fission in eukaryotes, fundamental cellular processes that are impaired in a group of neurological disorders. In particular, we investigate the structure and function of proteins that deform, tether, and fuse biological membranes.