Stress Physiology

Woman in laboratory holding pipette over test tubesStress physiology is the study of bacterial cells from a systems-wide point of view to learn more about how they fundamentally function under different conditions. At this stage our work has focussed on E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes, bacteria important from a food safety standpoint, with particular emphasis on how these pathogens respond to food processing approaches. With detailed functional genomic information we hope not just to understand how these microbes behave during stress but also use the data to develop new ways to prevent or hinder their survival via subtle manipulations of environmental conditions. We work with interesting and beneficial microbes not just pathogens.

These include those that provide diet-delivered health benefits (probiotic microbes such as Lactobacillus) as well as more exotic microbes such as Psychroflexus torquis, which lives in Antarctic sea-ice. This research primarily uses state-of-the-art liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry to analyse the whole proteomes of genome sequenced representatives. We are endeavouring to link proteome data to metabolic data and will be developing new projects in which we will further define the ìmetabolomesî of bacteria using high resolution nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and mass spectrometry