University of San Diego
Houra Merrikh lab
One of the research interests of the Merrikh lab is the development of an alternative strategy for the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) problem. Instead of trying to create more potent antibiotics, we are proposing to resolve this problem by inhibiting evolution by targeting proteins that accelerate evolution (“evolvability factors”). One of these proteins is the DNA translocase and RNA polymerase interacting protein, Mfd. The lab has recently found that Mfd is required for the rapid development of AMR, to multiple classes of antibiotics in highly divergent bacteria. However, it is unclear 1) how Mfd increases mutagenesis and 2) whether the microbiome impacts Mfd-dependent AMR development (or AMR development in general). The goal of my project is to investigate these questions through the use of various biochemical, molecular biology, and genetic techniques; along with a mouse model for evolution as well.