"The larger the searchlight,
the larger the circumference of the unknown"
Alex Garland The
do infectious agents cause disease in some hosts, but not others? How
do pathogens overcome the defense systems of their hosts to establish
and maintain infections? What forces drive and control the spread of
virulence and resistance factors within and between bacterial
populations? How does bacterial population structure influence
ecological interactions and the disease process in plants and animals?
Guttman laboratory uses a highly multidisciplinary approach to address
these challenging questions. We integrate evolutionary and functional
approaches to understand how bacteria acquire and maintain the ability
to infect and cause disease in a diversity of hosts. Our long-term
goals are to decipher both the specific molecular mechanisms of
disease, as well as the evolutionary and ecological forces which govern
the long term dynamics of these important processes.
majority of our studies are focused on two closely related
Gram-negative bacterial pathogens. Pseudomonas syringae is
a plant pathogen that causes a variety of blights and spot diseases in
many important agricultural crops. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is
an opportunistic human pathogen that is responsible for a large
proportion of hospital-associated infections, and the leading cause of
death among Cystic Fibrosis patients.
our studies will provide important insight into the fundamental
evolutionary forces and molecular mechanisms that govern the course and
fate to pathogen-host interaction.