Dr. Megan Bergkessel
My laboratory is interested in understanding how bacteria, especially the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, are able to regulate their activities under conditions that prevent active growth. Often in natural environments, including infections, bacteria encounter resource limitation that prevents them from being able to grow and divide. However, sensitive measurements have shown that they are still able to produce proteins at low rates under these conditions. The regulatory mechanisms that are involved are not well understood. Gaining insight into this regulatory context is important because non-growing bacteria are highly tolerant of antibiotics, and can contribute to chronic infections. Understanding how these non-growing, antibiotic-tolerant bacteria are regulating their low levels of biosynthetic activity could give us new insight into strategies to treat chronic infection and combat the rise of antibiotic resistance.