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The Melville Lab

Fluorescently-tagged pilin proteins in Clostridium perfringens

Bacterial pathogenesis of Clostridia

The Melville lab's research is focused on how Clostridia, Gram-positive, anaerobic spore-forming bacteria cause disease. The main focus is on Clostridium perfringens, which is a common cause of food poisoning and also a deadly tissue infection, gas gangrene. In a gangrene infection, the bacteria move rapidly through tissue and completely degrade it as they go. Research projects in the lab are focused on the molecular mechanisms underlying the ability of the bacteria to (1) secrete toxins and degradative enzymes, (2) adhere to host cells by assembling type IV pili, (3) move across surfaces, (4) form biofilms in vivo and (5) avoid being killed by phagocytes. We have excellent genetic and and molecular biology tools for working with C. perfringens and, even though it is an anaerobe, it is extremely easy to grow and work with in the lab.

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