Microbes are all around us, on us and within us. Although frequently associated with disease, the vast majority of microbes are non-pathogenic and many are critical for promoting our good health. We study the mechanisms by which bacteria are able to sense their environment and then transform that sensing into the regulation of an appropriate response. By understanding how microbes “see” the world around them, we hope to develop both a better understanding of basic biological processes as well as ways to circumvent them.
The McPhee lab studies mechanisms by which enteric bacteria (those that live in our gastrointestinal tract) respond to the intestinal environment in order to successfully colonize the host and induce disease.