PI: Dr. Sam Miller
Location: UW Microbiology
Website: http://miller-lab.net/MillerLab/

Defining the molecular basis of bacterial pathogenesis and interactions with eukaryotic cells

The Miller laboratory is focused on defining the molecular basis of bacterial pathogenesis and interactions with eukaryotic cells. The laboratory has a particular interest in bacterial interactions with innate immunity. This work involves the use of animal and tissue culture (mice, macrophages, epithelial cells) models of infection using Salmonella, Pseudomonas, and Yersinia. Research interests include Salmonellae-induced typhoid fever and gastroenteritis, the chronic Pseudomonas airway disease of cystic fibrosis patients, and Gram-negative organisms important to biodefense, including Francisella tularensis and the plague bacillis Yersinia pestis.

The lab is organized into research groups focusing on the study of: (1) The effect of bacterial type III effector proteins on mammalian cells; (2) The assembly and regulation of the type III secretion system of Salmonella typhimurium, which translocates proteins into mammalian cells on contact; (3) The environmental remodeling of the gram-negative bacterial surface that occurs when bacteria infect host tissues; and (4) The characterization of the phenotypic adaptation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to the unique environmental niche of the CF airway; (5) Analysis of bacterial genes and proteins using bioinformatics; (6) Development of new antimicrobial compounds inhibiting pathogenic factors. Current projects organized by group include the study of: (1) Salmonellae translocated effectors (which are delivered across the phagosome membrane and recruited to the actin cytoskeleton, nucleus, and phagosome) (2) Assembly of the type III secretion system inner membrane ring of the needle complex and structure-function analysis of the type III secretion chaperone InvB; (3) Remodeling of the surface of lipid A after bacterial infection of host tissues and analysis of the recognition of diverse lipid A by human Toll-like receptor 4; (4) Proteomic analysis and transcriptional profiling of Pseudomonas aeruginosa adaptation during CF; (5) Bioinformatic analysis and comparison of Francisella genomes; (6) Screening for chemical compounds that inhibit aminoarabinose modification of Lipid A.