University of Washington,
Biophysical and Structural Biology
Genetics, Genomics & Evolution
Microbiology, Infection & Immunity
Interbacterial toxins and protein secretion
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We study the interactions of bacteria with each other and with their hosts. Interbacterial interactions impact humans in many ways, such as whether a given pathogen is able to invade the human gut microbiome. Many interactions between bacteria involve injected toxins. These toxins are fundamentally fascinating molecules, but their study also provides insights into new ways of eradication. Some bacteria secrete factors that directly target host cells. We define and characterize such molecules to understand how environmental bacteria evolve into pathogens of complex organisms.