We are a curiosity-driven research group focused on understanding the function of proteins secreted by bacterial nanomachines during their interaction with other bacteria or eukaryotic cells. We pursuit challenging questions and use a combination of techniques that are best fitted to answer each individual question.
The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a weapon that delivers protein effectors into diverse cellular types, including rival bacteria and eukaryotic cells. This pool of T6SS effectors represents a reservoir of proteins with an unexpected broad range of activities. Antibacterial effectors are natural antimicrobials that bacteria have evolved to effectively kill competitors, and effectors with anti-eukaryotic activities work against environmental predators and phagocytes of the immune system.
The lab currently focuses on T6SSs encoded by Salmonella species. We believe that a deeper understanding of effectors secreted by these systems will bring significant impact to (i) bacterial ecology by discovering novel mechanisms of bacterial antagonism; (ii) the development of new antimicrobials to address antibiotic resistance; (iii) understand novel mechanisms of bacterial manipulation of host cell biology; (iv) Salmonella biology by uncovering mechanisms of environmental reservoir maintenance; (v) effector/immunity repertoires in microbiomes and their influence on host susceptibility to infection.