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Scientific inquiry

"Creativity requires input, and that's what research is. You're gathering material with which to build."

Gene Luen Yang

Our research 

Our laboratory focuses in Lactobacillus sp., a Gram-positive human commensal of the gastrointestinal and vaginal tractWe are interested in defining how Lactobacilli communicate and respond in this environment and what are the effects of this communication for host cells.


Lactobacilli, among other microorganisms, can utilize quorum sensing to mediate responses to environmental conditions or cell signals. We are studying a specific quorum sensing pathway, that mediates responses via the interaction of a small peptide and a transcriptional regulator, termed Rgg. Lactobacillus contains three such Rgg quorum sensing systems. However, there are no known small peptide signals. 


The goals of our laboratory include defining the quorum sensing regulatory networkidentifying environmental and cellular signals involved in these pathways, and discovering the social responses associated with them in vitro and in host cells. 

Summer Research Opportunities Available through PUMA-STEM  




Pérez Morales TG, Ratia K, Wang DS, et al. A novel chemical inducer of Streptococcus quorum sensing acts by inhibiting the pheromone-degrading endopeptidase PepO. J Biol Chem. 2018;293(12):4580. doi:10.1074/jbc.AAC118.002674


**** This work was featured in ****

UIC Today research 2018 

JJC The Blazer 2019 

Microcosm ASM 2019 

Pérez Morales TG, Ho TD, Liu WT, Dorrestein PC, Ellermeier CD. Production of the cannibalism toxin SDP is a multistep process that requires SdpA and SdpB. J Bacteriol. 2013;195(14):3244–3251. doi:10.1128/JB.00407-13

Poster presentations at Benedictine's URSA (Undergraduate Research Scholarship and Arts) symposium

2018 - Najah Azim and Ifrah Khan

2019 - Ahsan Adil, Daniel Soto, Ciera Duffy, Noura Omari, Maryam Mohamed

Oral presentations at Benedictine University NSSRP (Natural Science Summer Research Program)

2019 - Ahsan Adil and Ahmed Mohiuddin

            Ciera Duffy *** 3rd place award***

Attendance to the Illinois Society for Microbiology Meeting 

2019- Ciera Duffy ***Travel Award Winner***

Poster presentations at Molecular genetics of bacteria and phages conference

2019 - Ciera Duffy 

Poster presentations at LSMRCE (Louis Stokes Midwest Regional Center of Excellence) conference

2019- Ciera Duffy, Ahsan Adil, and Ahmed Mohiuddin *** Travel Award Winners***



Lab news 

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