Bassler Lab Members

Bassler Lab Team

Bassler Lab Team

Principal Investigator

Bonnie Bassler
Bonnie L. Bassler
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Research Interest:  Cell-to-cell communication in bacteria.
Bonnie L. Bassler Biography »

Curriculum Vitaepdf-icon-25x25


Postdoctoral Fellows

Knut Drescher
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Research Interest: By combining bacterial genetics with microfluidics, microscopy, and mathematical modeling, I study physical aspects of bacterial collective behavior. I am particularly interested in how bacteria behave in conditions that resemble their natural environments.

Anisa
Anisa Ismail

Research Interest: Intestinal epithelial cells provide the crucial interface (400 m2) between mammalian hosts and a vast consortium of microbial partners. Yet, little is known about the mechanisms regulating our beneficial relations with commensal bacteria.  The fact that bacteria and mammalian intestinal cells are in constant contact with one another, combined with the universal use of intercellular communication in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, has led me to speculate that  bacteria- and/or mammalian-secreted signals are involved in maintaining homeostasis via intra- and inter-kingdom communication.  I am investigating these ideas by studying Bacteroides fragilis-eukaryotic cell interactions in a mouse model.  B. fragilis is a prominent member of the normal gut microflora that plays a vital role in maintaining intestinal health by directing host anti-inflammatory responses. However, the mechanisms underlying these interactions are not known.  Anisa's ongoing studies in the lab will focus on how resident gut bacteria influence intestinal health through quorum sensing behaviors, and I will characterize quorum sensing factors directing collective behaviors in B. fragilis.


Carey
Carey Nadell
 
Research Interest: Carey is interested in applying ideas from social evolution and collective behavior to microbial systems. Using theoretical and experimental approaches, I study how bacterial groups become structured in space and how this spatial structure influences competition and cooperation between different strains and species living together in surface-bound communities.

Kai
Kai Papenfort

Research Interest: Quorum sensing (QS) controls the expression of hundreds of genes in each cell, yet it is not understood how these genes are simultaneously controlled nor whether regulation is identical in all cells in a population. Kai uses deep-sequencing technologies and fluorescent microscopy to investigate gene expression changes in populations and in individual cells undergoing QS to discover the regulatory players and mechanism that drive collective behaviour.


Kristen Werner
Kristen Werner

Research Interest:  The overarching goal of my work is to explore the mechanisms and consequences of chemical communication between bacteria and eukaryotes.  Kristen is studying the bacteria Vibrio cholerae, Vibrio harveyi, and the model eukaryote, Caenorhabditis elegans to explore interkingdom signaling.  C. elegans detects bacterial-produced chemicals to identify food sources, but C. elegans is also susceptible to pathogenic bacteria, including V. cholerae, enabling the study of the chemical conversations between C. elegans and a nutrient source (V. harveyi) and C. elegans and  a pathogen (V. cholerae).  These studies will allow us to understand how relationships between eukaryotes and both pathogenic and beneficial bacteria have evolved and are sustained, and in the long term, how we can manipulate these associations in health and in disease.  


Graduate Students

 Zach
Zach Donnell
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Research Interest: Zach's research focuses on the genes responsible for the production and detection of the Vibrio-specific autoinducer CAI-1. The expression of these genes, cqsA and cqsS, changes depending on the cell density state and growth phase of Vibrio cholerae cells. I am currently investigating the specific mechanism by which these genes are regulated.

Lihui Feng
Lihui Feng
 
Research Interest: Five small regulatory RNAs (Qrr 1-5) are involved in Vibrio harveyi quorum-sensing circuit. I’m interested in the function and regulation of Qrr5, which unlike the other Qrrs is repressed atlow cell density. I’m also studying the target specificity of the five Qrrs combining mathematical modeling and experiments.

Amanda Hurley
Amanda Hurley
Research Interest: The autoinducer CAI-1 is produced, secreted and sensed by the transmembrane histidine kinase CqsS in Vibrio cholerae. CAI-1-mediated signaling induces quorum sensing and consequently represses virulence factors such as TCP and CTX. I am interested in the artificial activation of quorum sensing in V. cholerae using small molecules, which target either CqsS or the downstream transcription factor LuxO. I want to identify the mechanism by which these pro-quorum sensing molecules inhibit the CqsS and LuxO, which will illuminate how two-component signal transduction occurs in V. cholerae. In addition, these small molecules have the potential to be developed into therapeutics for the disease cholera.

 Xiaobo
Xiaobo Ke
 
Research Interest: LuxN is a membrane-bound receptor for acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL) autoinducers. The molecular interaction between AHL and luxN remain elusive because of lack of structural information about LuxN. I want to exploit AHL homologs and other LuxN antagonists to study their interactions with LuxN using genetics. In addition, I am interested in how the receptor respond to mixture of signals in vivo, which will be helpful for interfering quorum-sensing.

Alice Min
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Undergraduate Students

 
Paul Oh

Graham Read

Hana Snow

David Wang

Research Associates

jian-ping
Jian-Ping Cong
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Julie
Julie Valastyan
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Lab Specialist

Ed
Ed Kennedy
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Faculty Assistant

Jennifer Munko
Jennifer Munko
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P (609) 258-5659

 


Collaborators

Fred Hughson
Fred Hughson
Princeton University, Molecular Biology
Hughson Lab

 


Semmelhack
Martin Semmelhack
Princeton University, Chemistry

 


Howard Stone
Howard Stone
Princeton University, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Stone Lab

 


Ned Wingreen
Ned Wingreen
Princeton University, Molecular Biology
Wingreen Lab