PhD Candidate since 2012
For my thesis research I study the role that the gut microbiota has in resisting antibiotic-associated colonization of the bacterial pathogen Clostridium difficile. Using a mouse model of infection with varying antibiotic pretreatments, I quantify changes in remaining gut community structure and metabolism through a combination of methods; including culture-based techniques, 16S rRNA gene sequencing, metagenome-directed metatranscriptomics, and genome-scaling metabolic modeling. Preliminary results have revealed several groups of bacteria and metabolic pathways that may be involved in outcompeting C. difficile for it’s preferred nutrient niche during infection. Additionally, C. difficile alters it’s own metabolism to cope with unique environments in which it is colonizing. These data may prove valuable for identifying probiotic species or processes that can prevent C. difficile colonization in susceptible individuals in a targeted way.