University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The Tamayo Lab studies how facultative pathogenic bacteria adapt to disparate and changing extracellular conditions. Specifically, they are interested in a bacterial second messenger that transmits signals received at the cell surface and controls a wide variety of adaptive responses. This signaling molecule, c-di-GMP, is ubiquitous in bacteria and often regulates the switch between motile and non-motile lifestyles in many bacterial species. In many cases, the non-motile phase involves development of a microbial community called a biofilm. In some bacteria, including the intestinal pathogens Vibrio cholerae and Clostridium difficile, c-di-GMP also regulates virulence factor production. Dr. Tamayo’s lab aims to understand the molecular mechanisms by which c-di-GMP influences the virulence of these bacteria and how this impacts disease outcome.