Our research program focuses on the structure determination of integral membrane proteins. We perform X-ray crystallography and functional analysis of these proteins using biophysical, biochemical, and cell biological techniques. We study transporters embedded in the outer membranes of Gram-negative bacteria, which are surface accessible and therefore have the potential to be good vaccine and/or drug targets against infectious diseases. We also study the membrane associated or soluble protein partners that interact with outer membrane transporters to understand how these systems function in vivo. Current topics in the lab include (1) small molecule and protein import across the bacterial outer membrane, (2) protein secretion by pathogenic bacteria, and (3) protein import across mitochondrial outer membranes
Multidrug resistance arising from indiscriminate and widespread use of antibiotics is a growing health threat, and we need to develop much better strategies for treatment and prevention of bacterial infections.