Antibiotic resistant bacteria continue to become more abundant in our environment and pose a threat to human health. As part of this summer project Gondek's team of student researchers will use molecular techniques (DNA amplification) and microbiological culture to survey the Ithaca college campus for antibiotic resistant micro-organisms.
According to Associate Professor Gondek:
Chlamydiae are bacteria which can only grow inside a eukaryotic cell. In the US, Chlamydia are most commonly diagnosed as a sexually transmitted disease. In the developing world, Chlamydia bacteria typically infect the conjunctiva of the eye making it the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world. In order to establish its niche within the host cell the bacteria secretes a collection of virulence factors via a process termed type three secretion. As Chlamydiae have radiated from a single ancestral predecessor, the bacteria have developed specificity for a single host species (human, mouse, guinea pig, cow, bird, etc). My research uses the power of genomic analysis, molecular genetics, cell biology, and immunology to compare Chlamydiae species and unravel the mechanism which engenders host specificity.
More broadly I am interested in type three secretion and host-pathogen interactions, as this is a common mechanism of bacterial subversion of a host cell. I am open to additional projects and ideas brought by students which fit within the scope of this research.
For more information on Chlamydiae, check out - http://chlamydiae.com