Associate ProfessorPhone: (601) 984-1709E-mail: email@example.com
EducationPhD, University of Texas - microbial physiology
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Throughout the years, the main emphasis of the research in our laboratory (Dr. Byers and I work together) has been directed toward the elucidation of the mechanisms of iron acquisition in bacteria. Almost all microbes need iron to grow and survive, and most pathogenic microorganisms have several ways to obtain iron to meet this need. Among the iron acquisition systems described in microorganisms are those that involve secretion of and uptake from specific iron chelating molecules called siderophores, reductive mechanisms for uptake of ferrous iron, and systems for utilization of host iron molecules such as heme proteins, lactoferrin and transferrin. With contributions from many talented students, we have characterized iron acquisition systems in Bacillus megaterium, Streptococcus mutans, Aeromonas hydrophila and Mycobacterium smegmatis. Our current efforts are centered on the iron utilization systems of Bacillus anthracis. This microorganism possesses a number of mechanisms to acquire iron, and we have identified a 3,4-dihydroxybenzoate-based catecholate siderophore that is produced when the organism is grown in iron restrictive conditions. While the role of siderophores in microbial virulence continues to be a focus of interest, we are also investigating other routes of iron acquisition by B. anthracis that may play a role in its survival in a mammalian host.
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