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Research Interests

Bacteria in Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus genus are symbiotically associated with obligate insect pathogenic Steinernema and Heterorhabditis nematodes. Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus bacteria can secrete toxins, exoenzymes, and proteins for immune evasion and subsequent killing of insects. Some of these proteins are secreted via particular protein secretion systems in entomopathogenic Gram-negative bacteria. However, secretion systems in the entomopathogenic Xenorhabdus spp. and Photorhabdus spp. have not been identified completely. To understand the distribution of secretion systems among the Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus genomes, we conducted a comprehensive comparative analysis of secretion systems (Type I-VI). We expected to improve our understanding of the distribution of secretion systems by a comparative analysis of the Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus genomes.


I am broadly interested in bacterial secretion systems and secreted effector proteins in pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria. In particular, my future research interests are shaped by understanding the function of Type III secretion system (T3SS) and Type VI secretion system (T6SS) effector proteins and developing novel strategies for designing effector protein-based therapeutics. My research agenda focuses on the questions that how T3SS and T6SS effector proteins are important in the manipulation of the host environment for bacterial invasion. My research strategies integrate the T3SS and T6SS effector proteins and host immune systems to reveal the function of the effector proteins for the host-pathogen interactions. My past research investigates the characterization of T6SS and understanding the role of T6SS effector proteins in Edwardsiella ictaluri. My plans for the future involved identifying more novel T3SS and T6SS effector proteins and understanding their function for the bacterial competition or the host-pathogen interactions. I plan to focus on the effector proteins that play an essential role in inter- or intra- bacterial competitions in microbial communities. Additionally, I have an interest to work in the area that identifies the protein domains for the T3SS and T6SS effector proteins to reveal the underlying properties of the effector proteins. The main motivation here is to identify novel effector protein domains on the pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacterial genomes.