Research
     
We seek to understand the fundamental mechanisms used by Mycobacterium tuberculosis to survive, grow and cause disease. Although our lab uses genetic and biochemical approaches to study this organism, we pursue questions irrespective of the expertise required to answer those questions. The two major questions we are pursuing are:
     
  What are the essential components of the peptidoglycan layer and how is the physiology of this layer maintained? Please note that the peptidoglycan layer is an essential ‘organelle’. In 2007, we accidentally identified a transpeptidase that generates mDAP-mDAP or 3→3 transpeptide linkages in the peptidoglycan layer of M. tuberculosis. We are now seeking to comprehensively understand the biology of the peptidoglycan layer. The ultimate aim is to find effective ways to destroy or inhibit biosynthesis of this layer. The following figure is a model we propose and use as a guide to pursue our goals.  
     
  What non-coding RNAs exist in M. tuberculosis and what is their relevance to physiology and virulence of this pathogen? In addition to rRNAs, tRNAs and tmRNA, M. tuberculosis generates a number of other non-coding RNAs. We are studying these RNAs.