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We investigate the effect of bacterial toxins on the physiology and dynamics of microbial communities, and their synthetic biology applications.

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Bacteria-to-bacteria interactions mediated by toxins.

Virtually all work on bacterial toxins has focused on their capacity to kill target cells. The discovery of novel DNA targeting activity of deaminase toxins prompted an investigation of the long-lasting effects of intoxication in bacterial cells through mutagenesis.  The study of the role of bacterial toxins beyond cell death is in its infancy, and significant questions regarding their ecological and evolutionary impact remain to be answered. Our group is providing a comprehensive analysis of DNA targeting toxins and their effects on bacterial communities. 

Synthetic biology of bacterial toxins.

Every major bacterial clade contains different toxic systems employed to antagonize competing organisms. These systems are highly diverse and rely on enzymes with different enzymatic activity, many of them yet uncharacterized. Our group is interested in harnessing the unexplored potential of bacterial toxins for biotechnological applications. We are primarily interested in DNA targeting toxins to develop new tools for genome editing and DNA manipulation.

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