Albert SiryapornAlbert Siryaporn, a postdoctoral fellow in the Gitai lab, was awarded the NIH K22 career development award. He will investigate how bacteria sense mechanical cues from their surroundings and regulate cellular processes involved in infection and disease in responseBacteria encounter a variety of mechanical forces during the infection process. While much work in the field has been devoted towards exploring the role of chemical cues in infection, the role of mechanical stimulation in infection has been largely unexplored. His work will probe mechanosensory pathways in the Gram-negative bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is an opportunistic pathogen that causes illness in cystic fibrosis patients and is a major cause of pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and sepsis. Albert will characterize the virulence and colonization responses to different types of mechanical stimuli and investigate the regulatory mechanism of candidate mechanosensitive proteins. These insights will provide a foundation for developing novel approaches to antibiotic therapies that perturb the ability of P. aeruginosa to infect. In addition, this study would represent one of the first attempts to characterize mechanosensation as a regulator of virulence and colonization in bacteria.