Sampriti Mukherjee

Assistant Professor of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Chicago, IL
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PhD in Microbiology 2014, Indiana University-Bloomington

I graduated from Indiana University-Bloomington with a PhD in Microbiology in 2014, and I am now working with Prof Bassler. Bacteria sense and respond to self-generated and exogenous stimuli that influence their persistence in particular niches as well as lifestyle transitions, such as alterations between free-living state or existing in structured 3D communities called biofilms. How the information encoded in sensory inputs is decoded and integrated to drive bacterial behaviors is largely mysterious. My goal is to understand fundamental questions about bacterial signal detection, signal relay, signal integration, and the consequences to collective behaviors. During my doctoral training, I investigated the intracellular signal transduction pathway controlling surface sensing and motility at the single cell level. As a postdoctoral fellow, while studying how quorum sensing regulates biofilm formation in the human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, I made the surprising discovery of photo sensing in this non-photosynthetic pathogen. Indeed, I can shine light on P. aeruginosa and repress biofilm formation and virulence factor production. Currently, I am dissecting how quorum sensing and photo sensing converge to control bacterial collective behaviors.