Project Overview: Bacteria respond to stressful changes in their environment by changing their patterns of gene expression. The RpoS protein coordinates E. coli’s general stress response, allowing the cell to survive a variety of stresses, including starvation, pH, osmotic stress, and high and low temperatures. RpoS does this by altering the expression of about ¼ of the genes in the E. coli genome. RpoS is thought to also be important for stress responses in related species, including important pathogens like Salmonella and Klebsiella, but we know much less about it.
Students working in the Stoebel lab will work on one or both of the following topics:
1) The timing of RpoS-dependent gene expression in response to stresses
Recent work in the lab has shown that RpoS-dependent genes vary in their response to changing levels of RpoS, which likely helps to coordinate responses to different stresses. This project will examine what determines the timing of how RpoS-dependent genes are expressed in response to stress.
Students will use transcriptional fusions to luciferase to monitor gene expression in response to various stresses. Students will be responsible for the analysis of the data using R. This is a good project for students who enjoy a combination of working at the bench and who are interested in the mechanistic details of molecular biology, as well as data analysis with R. Students do not need prior background in all of these areas, but a willingness to learn is essential.
2) The regulation of RpoS in pathogenic relatives of E. coli
While we know a great deal about how RpoS is regulated in one strain of E. coli, we know much less about how it is regulated in other species.
Students working on this project will use western blotting to study how the RpoS protein is regulated in response to a variety of stress conditions. These tests will be guided by our detailed knowledge of this system in E. coli, and by predictions based on genome content of relatives. In addition, students working on this project will study the contribution of RpoS to the survival of these species in the face of stress conditions. Students working on this project should expect to learn microbiological and molecular biology techniques.
Do not apply for this position through the URO site. Instead, apply via the Biology department site by Feb. 20th