Current Research Interests
We are interested in examining host-pathogen interactions in order to understand and exploit virulence mechanisms used by bacteria colonizing mucosal surfaces. Campylobacter jejuni, a leading cause of bacterial food poisoning worldwide, provides an exciting model system for our studies. My research group has been characterizing campylobacter glycosylation systems including the first identified bacterial N-linked protein glycosylation pathway (see image below) and the extremely variable capsular polysaccharides, that have been demonstrated to play important roles in chicken colonization, bacteriophage evasion and diarrheal disease. Analytical technologies such as high resolution magic angle spinning (HR-MAS) NMR, proteomics and microarrays coupled with representative model systems are being used for the identification of novel virulence determinants, gene and protein expression profiling, and elucidation of regulatory networks.