"Interactions between microbes and their hosts are central to both health and disease."
Prior to joining Genentech in 2010, I was an Associate Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine. I was drawn to Genentech because of its focus on discovering and developing novel medicines through the use of cutting-edge science in a highly collaborative and goal-oriented environment. This is aligned with my passion in translating basic discoveries and understanding of microbial physiology and host-microbe interactions into transformative medicines for patients with serious and life-threatening diseases. In addition to supervising research in my laboratory, I am responsible for setting our research strategies, providing cross-functional coordination and oversights on target, drug discovery and development programs. I also oversee external collaboration opportunities in infectious diseases and microbiome-related therapies.
I am passionate about the mentoring and developing future generation of scientific leaders. I have had to opportunity to mentor several highly talented postdoctoral scholars during my tenure at Stanford and now at Genentech. Genentech’s postdoctoral fellows have the unique opportunity to perform high quality basic research while gaining valuable exposure to drug discovery and development.
Nature 2018, 561: 189–194
“Research is essentially a dialogue with Nature. The important thing is not to wonder about Nature's answer, for she is always honest, but to closely examine your question to her”. Albert Szent-Gyorgi (1893-1986)
My research questions focus on uncovering the molecular basis of host-microbe interactions, mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance and the discovery of novel antimicrobials.
Microbes impact human health and diseases by either promoting or disrupting homeostasis. Perturbation of homeostasis leads to the development of infectious diseases. Host-microbe interactions are complex and they shape the phenotypic manifestations of the underlying genetic architecture of both the host and the microbes. We employ interdisciplinary approaches to elucidate the environmental and genetic bases of these interactions, focusing initially on the gastrointestinal tract. In the past we have used the bacteria-C. elegans system I pioneered to discover and elucidate molecular mechanisms underlying bacterial pathogenesis and host responses within the context of an intact host. Recent advances in genetic manipulation, stem cell, tissue engineering and microfluid technologies have now enabled us to use human intestinal organoids and intestine-on-chip systems to model the interactions between pathogens or commensals with the human gastrointestinal tract.
To discover and develop novel antibiotics to treat bacterial infections, we focus on bacterial factors that are essential for envelop biogenesis or viability during infection. We also explore the mechanisms by which microbes develop resistance to these novel therapeutics.