Welcome to the Ting Lab
Investigating the survival strategies of bacteria in multi-species environments
Bacteria colonize every habitat on earth. They impact ecosystems in diverse ways from preventing diseases on plant roots to altering nutrient uptake rate in the human gut. The influences are dependent on the interactions between different bacterial species within the microbial communities. We seek to understand the underlying mechanisms that allow individual species of bacteria to survive and thrive in multi-species environments.
Bacteria competition mediated by the type VI secretion system
Antagonistic defense pathways in Gram-negative bacteria
As long as bacteria live in the community, they have to cope with the threat posed by competing bacteria. These attacks range from anti-microbial chemicals to secreted protein toxins. This evolutionary pressure has undoubtedly led to the diverse defend pathways that could provide resistance to antagonistic competitors. Our ongoing efforts in this area include studying uncharacterized and
novel mechanisms by which bacteria defend against interbacterial
Development of novel technology to deplete specified target from microbiota
Traditional broad-spectrum antibacterial approaches have side effects to disrupt the beneficial microbiota in complex communities indiscriminately. This problem has led to the development of antimicrobials that can selectively target individual species or strains of bacteria. In recent work, we and others have developed programmable inhibitor cells (PICs) that direct the potent antibacterial activity of the T6SS against specified target cells. By introducing nanobodies on the surface of PICs to generate antigen-specific cell-cell adhesion, we could direct T6SS to efficiently deplete target cells in a multispecies environment without off-target activity. We aim to generalize the approach to better study ecological interactions in complex communities and the effects of dysbiosis.