The evidence that plants are a common host of human enteric pathogens, such as Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli is now overwhelming. There is strong scientific consensus that these human pathogens are also plant-associated microbes. Our lab focuses on advancing the field of plant-microbe interactions by studying the biology of S. enterica in association with plants. We are interested in the genes and mechanisms required for S. enterica plant colonization. We take a diverse approach from bacterial genetics to computational biology. Our goal is to develop cutting edge studies focusing on S. enterica while spring boarding off the wealth of scientific knowledge available for its famous cousin, E. coli.
Reducing food-borne illness caused by consumption of contaminated healthy food stuff such as fresh produce is an immediate need. However, the study of human enteric bacterial pathogens in association with plants is a young sub-discipline that requires investigation of basic biology to move toward the ultimate goal of reducing human illness.