New Scholar Award in Global Infectious Disease
Paula Watnick, M.D., Ph.D.
Tufts University School of Medicine

Novel Regulators of Biofilm Development by Vibrio cholerae

V. cholerae is a human pathogen and a natural inhabitant of marine, estuarine, and fresh water environments. The research efforts in my laboratory are directed at preventing cholera epidemics through an understanding of this bacterium’s survival strategies in the aquatic environment and in the mammalian host. Surface adhesion or biofilm development is a common strategy in both of these environments. Our laboratory studies V. cholerae biofilms formed on artificial and environmental surfaces. Through genetic screens, we have uncovered several novel regulators of V. cholerae biofilm development. By exploring the mechanisms of action of these regulators, defining their regulons, and identifying the environmental signals that they respond to, we hope to shed light on this universal bacterial behavior and lay the foundation for the rational design of biofilm inhibitors to be used in cholera prevention and control with the ultimate goal of improving world health.

Contact Dr. Watnick.