“The larger the searchlight,
the larger the circumference of the unknown”

Alex Garland The Tesseract


Why do infectious agents cause disease in some hosts, but not others? How do pathogens overcome the defense systems of their hosts to establish and maintain infections? What forces drive and control the spread of virulence and resistance factors within and between bacterial populations? How does bacterial population structure influence ecological interactions and the disease process in plants and animals?

The Guttman laboratory uses a highly multidisciplinary approach to address these challenging questions. We integrate evolutionary and functional approaches to understand how bacteria acquire and maintain the ability to infect and cause disease in a diversity of hosts. Our long-term goals are to decipher both the specific molecular mechanisms of disease, as well as the evolutionary and ecological forces which govern the long term dynamics of these important processes.

The majority of our studies are focused on two closely related Gram-negative bacterial pathogens. Pseudomonas syringae is a plant pathogen that causes a variety of blights and spot diseases in many important agricultural crops. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic human pathogen that is responsible for a large proportion of hospital-associated infections, and the leading cause of death among Cystic Fibrosis patients.

Ultimately, our studies will provide important insight into the fundamental evolutionary forces and molecular mechanisms that govern the course and fate to pathogen-host interaction.

Comments are closed.