2565 McCarthy Mall, Keller Hall 301
Honolulu, HI 96822
(808) 956-0923 (phone)
(808) 956-0925 (fax)
|Ph.D. Civil and Environmental Engineering
||Massachusetts Institute of Technology
|B.A. Biochemistry and Environmental Engineering
Metabolic modeling serves to integrate genome sequencing as well as microarray,
proteomic, and molecular biology studies, facilitating comparison of bacterial
metabolic capabilities and diversity. My research focuses on metabolic
modeling of bacterial pathogens; small changes in gene content or regulation
can have large impacts on the host range or severity of a disease. Currently,
I am working on two projects (1) modeling the regulation of biofilm development
in pathogens and (2) using metabolic pathways to aid in comparison and annotation
of new bacterial genomes. These bioinformatics predictions will be used
to guide further laboratory experiments. Specifically, I am interested
in the role and maintenance of virulence properties such as biofilm formation
and toxin production in organisms that have environmental populations (e.g. Salmonella). Are
these organisms largely opportunistic pathogens with “virulence” determinants
serving alternate environmental roles such as colonization of abiotic surfaces
or are such genes only active in a (human) host?
Hunt DE, D Gevers, NM Vahora, & MF Polz (2008) Conservation
of the chitin utilization pathway in the Vibrionaceae. Applied and
Environmental Microbiology 74(1), 44-51.
Polz MF, DE Hunt, SP Preheim, & DM Weinreich (2006) Patterns and
mechanisms of genetic and phenotypic differentiation on marine microbes. Phil.
Trans. R. Soc. B. 361, 2009-2021.
Hunt DE, V Klepac-Ceraj, SG Acinas, C Gauthier, S Bertilson, & MF
Polz (2006) Evaluation of 23S rRNA PCR primers for use in phylogenetic
studies of bacterial diversity. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 72,
Acinas SG, V Klepac-Ceraj, DE Hunt, C Pharino, I Ceraj, DL Distel, & MF
Polz (2004) Fine scale phylogenetic architecture of a complex bacterial community. Nature 430,