PHAGE - ISOLATION, CHARACTERIZATION AND GENOMIC COMPARISON
Bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, are the most abundant abundant living entity on the planet. Their ability to kill their hosts, affect their behavior, and carry or transfer genetic material to their hosts underlies their enormous impact on evolution and ecology. Our phage hunters program is dedicated to the isolation and characterization of novel bacteriophages that infect Bacillus and Enterobacteriacae hosts. My lab is currently focused on phages that infect Erwinia amylovora, a member of the Enterobacteriaceae family of bacteria and relative to many human pathogens including E. coli, Salmonella and Yersinia. Erwinia itself is an agriculture pest, the causitive agent of Fire Blight. The isolation, characterization and genomic comparison of our Erwinia phages will aid in understanding the overall diversity of phages, the molecular function and evolution of phages, and the evolution of the Enterobacteriaceae family of bacteria (including pathogenic strains). In addition, we are currently conducting trials for the phage therapy treatment of Fire Blight.