Current Lab Members

Frederick M. Ausubel, Ph.D.
Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School / Molecular Biologist, Massachusetts General Hospital

Research Interest:
We have developed a novel multi-host pathogenesis system that involves the human bacterial pathogens Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhimurium and Enterococcus faecalis to identify virulence-related genes in bacterial pathogens and defense-related genes in four model genetic hosts: the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, the insect Drosophila melanogaster, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, and the mammal, Mus musculus. We have identified a set of novel P. aeruginosa genes required for pathogenesis in all of the model hosts and we have isolated Arabidopsis and C. elegans mutants that exhibit aberrant defense responses when challenged with P. aeruginosa.

ausubel @molbio.mgh.harvard.edu
Jenifer Bush, B.S.
Greenhouse Manager

I manage the plant growth facilities for the Ausubel and Sheen labs. With a background in horticulture and organismal biology, I bring a whole plant perspective to the department's plant molecular biology research program. Our facility consists of numerous reach-in growth chambers, 6 controlled environment walk-in rooms, a plant tissue culture lab, and two greenhouses. When I'm not tending plants at work, I am caring for plants at my home greenhouse and gardens. I also keep bees and currently have 4 hives.

Email: bush @molbio.mgh.harvard.edu
Brent Cezairliyan, Ph.D.
Research Fellow

Research Interest: Secreted chemical toxins play an important role in bacterial pathogenesis. We have identified several small molecules produced by P. aeruginosa that kill C. elegans. RNAi knockdown of genes in C. elegans has allowed us to identify pathways that are critical to the susceptibility of C. elegans to these toxins. I am working to characterize the mechanisms by which bacterial toxins act and to identify novel chemicals that can counteract their toxicities.

Email: cezairliyan @molbio.mgh.harvard.edu
Rhonda Feinbaum, Ph.D.
Assistant in Molecular Biology

Research Interest: I am interested in understanding the pathogenic interaction of Pseudomonas aeruginosa with C. elegans as a simple model for bacterial infection. For several years, I have been involved in the identification of C. elegans innate immunity genes required for the response to pathogens. In addition, together with Nicole Liberati, I have recently embarked on a genome-wide screen to identify P. aeruginosa PA14 virulence factors required for infection of C. elegans.

Email: feinbaum @molbio.mgh.harvard.edu

Alina Gutu, Ph.D.
Research Fellow

Research Interest:

I am interested in the molecular mechanism behind the acquisition, maintenance and transfer of antibiotic resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the main bacterial lung colonizer in Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients. Specifically, I am studying this pathogen’s response to exposure to cationic antimicrobial peptides and aminoglycosides, which are currently used to treat CF patients. To maintain the clinical relevance of my research I am primarily using a wide array of Pseudomonas clinical isolates acquired from several medical institutions.


Email: gutu @research.mgh.harvard.edu

 

Sakthimala Jagadeesan, Ph.D.
Research Fellow

Research Interest: [Coming soon]

Pauline Lim, A.B.
Administrative Assistant

When I'm not typing and filing, I'm doing art and music.

Email: lim @molbio.mgh.harvard.edu
Deborah McEwan, Ph.D.
Research Fellow

Research Interest: I am interested in how organisms discriminate between pathogenic and commensal bacteria. I am currently using the C. elegans/Pseudomonas aeruginosa model to understand what types of microbial factors can trigger host immune responses.

Julia Plotnikov, Ph.D.
Assistant in Molecular Biology

Research Interest: Understanding the initial response of animal cells to infections is important for finding measures to treat diseases.  I am interested in the spatial and temporal aspects of the host-pathogen interactions. I study the contact loci of penetrating through cuticle hyphae and nematode cells and their alterations at various stages of infection process.  I use imaging and genetic techniques to analyze the responses of individual host cells to infection paying special attention to the resistance gene induction at the C. elegans-fungal pathogen interface.

plotnikov @molbio.mgh.harvard.edu

Abdul Hakkim Rahamathullah, Ph.D.
Research Fellow

Research Interest: Coming soon.

Shen "Peter" Yu, Ph.D.
Research Fellow

Research Interest: I am interested in investigating the host-pathogen relationship using C. elegans as a model organism. As part of a collective effort, I am developing a high-throughput screening method to investigate Acinetobacter baumannii infection. I am also trying to address a few additional questions based on previous observations. One such question is whether worms, despite the lack of imprinting, can pass some sort of “memory” of pathogen encounter to their offspring, giving the population an edge to battle infection. Apart from this, I am interested in developing tools related to bacterial metabolism. The long-term goal of this approach is to gain insights into, e.g., the metabolism of live P. aeruginosa inside the worm intestine during the course of infection.

shenyu @molbio.mgh.harvard.edu

Last updated on December 31, 2015 .
Department of Molecular Biology Massachusetts General Hospital Simches Research Center 185 Cambridge Street CPZN7250 Boston, MA 02114-2790
Phone: (617)726-5968 FAX: (617)726-5949

Contact lim@molbio.mgh.harvard.edu