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Dr. Patrauchan's Lab

Our lab is interested in understanding the fundamental and clinical aspects of calcium (Ca2+) signaling in bacteria, its molecular mechanisms, and regulatory outcomes. Our primary model is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a Gram-negative opportunistic human pathogen and a leading cause of severe acute and chronic infections.

We have generated a large body of data showing that elevated Ca2+ at the levels commonly detected in a human body triggers the production of several virulence factors in P. aeruginosa, including alginate, rhamnolipid, pyocyanin, secreted proteases, and others. Elevated Ca2+ also enhances biofilm formation, resistance to antibiotics and to several stresses, as well sequestration of iron, which is essential for bacterial survival. Our main goal is to elucidate the regulatory and/or signaling mechanisms controlling the multiple effects of Ca2+ on P. aeruginosa virulence and its interactions with the host.

Courses Taught

Undergraduate Courses

  •       MICR 3033 – Cell and Molecular Biology (3 credits)
  •       Honors MICR 3890- Cell and Molecular Biology (1 credit)

Undergraduate Research

  •      MICR 4990 – Special Problems/Independent Research (Variable credits)
  •      HONR 3000-715 - Advance Honor Thesis (Variable credits)
  •      A&S 2000 - Freshman Research Scholar (Variable credits)
  •      UNIV 2910 Niblack Research Scholars (Variable credits)

Graduate Courses

  •      MICR 6323- Cellular Signaling and Gene Regulation (3 credits, Team-teaching)
  •      MICR 5002 – Professionalism in Microbiology (2 credits)
  •      VBS 5013 – Cell and Molecular Biology (3 credits, Team-teaching)
  •      MICR 5160 – Departmental Seminar (1 credit)
  •      MICR 5052 –Techniques in Molecular Biology (1 credit, Faculty rotation)
  •      MICR 6120 – Recent advances in Microbiology (1 credit, Journal Club)
  •      MICR 5513 – Grant writing (3 credits)

Graduate research

  •     MICR 6000 - Dissertation (Variable credits)
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