Mohamed O. Elasri
The focus of research in our lab is global gene regulation of virulence in Staphylococcus aureus. This important human pathogen is a great organism to study global regulation because of its extensive network of virulence genes that cross talk between each other in complex ways. We are using several approaches (e.g. genetic, biochemical, bioinformatics) to study global regulation. We have focused on the regulator Msa, which we have discovered in our laboratory. We have shown that Msa is involved in several important areas: virulence regulation, biofilm development, cell death, and antibiotic resistance. Findings from our work are increasing our limited knowledge on maintenance of biofilm during disease, which is particularly important given the recent outbreaks of “hypervirulent” community-associated MRSA strains. The ultimate goal from work in our lab is to develop therapeutics against device-associated staph infections caused by MRSA. We also have several interdisciplinary projects that involve bioinformatics and material sciences (see link to publications below).