E. Peter Greenberg, PhD
Professor, Department of Microbiology
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He is interested in the social behavior of bacteria. A primary focus has been on the coordination of activities in groups of bacteria, with an emphasis on cell-to-cell communication and a phenomenon that is known as quorum sensing. Many bacteria use chemical signals as cues to coordinate activities of individuals in groups. This allows population density dependent differential gene expression, and it can function in the development of specialized sessile communities known as biofilms. Signaling plays a critical role in the development of chronic and persistent bacterial infections. Investigators in Greenberg's laboratory have determined the structures of several signal molecules, elucidated the mechanism of signal synthesis, and studied how the signals activate gene expression. His current research examines the role of cell-to-cell signaling in bacterial virulence and the basic mechanisms of the signaling process. His work is currently focused on the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa and how this bacterium adapts phenotypically and genetically for persistence in the lungs of people with the genetic disease cystic fibrosis. He is the Director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-supported UW CF Research and Development Center and Co-Director of the NIDDK-supported Cystic Fibrosis Core Center. He is also interested in self vs. non-self discrimination in bacteria. He collaborates with Drs. Burns, Miller, and Singh.