Georgetown University
Georgetown University, Brinsmade Lab
Georgetown University, Dept of Biology
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Shaun Brinsmade, PhD

Our laboratory studies how metabolism and pathogenesis are interrelated and interdependent. We are currently examining in depth the role of the global regulatory protein CodY in altering the activities of multiple metabolic pathways when faced with changing levels of nutrient depletion, and how this response is coupled to the production of virulence factors.

We know from our previous work in Bacillus subtilis that a spectrum of CodY activities produces a hierarchical response to nutrient limitation, turning on and off genes in a precise order for metabolic adaptation. But, what about in bacteria relevant to human health? We have turned to Staphylococcus aureus, an important hospital- and community-acquired infectious disease agent, to answer this question. S. aureus produces active CodY and uses this protein to control approximately 50 virulence genes in 32 operons. We are exploiting the power of the S. aureus genetic system to reveal the when the virulence factors are turned on upon nutrient deprivation.

Check out our most recent publication by grad student Alyssa King!