mRNA stability, Plant-pathogen interactions, Gene expression
One of my primary research interests focuses on the regulation of gene expression in cells in response to stresses such as desiccation, nutrient deprivation, culture density, osmotic stress, heat shock, and mechanical stress. Our approaches include studying the regulation of transcription, mRNA degradation and protein synthesis in cells grown under a variety of culture conditions.
A new interest in the lab is the development of microbial-based therapies for cancer. An attenuated strain of Salmonella enterica Typhimurium is currently used in these studies. This organism is a gram-negative facultative bacterium that can invade and divide with macrophages and other cell types and thrives in hypoxic areas of tumors. Previous reports have indicated that administration of this organism significantly reduced tumor size and number in mouse models of metastatic osteosarcoma, primary neuroblastoma and liver adenocarcinoma. Current work is focused on optimizing the cancer suppressing activity of this bacterium by expressing various cytokine genes and determining the most effective protocol for administration of this organism to the mice with potential future applications to humans.