Paula Watnick’s Laboratory is located in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Boston Children’s Hospital. We explore commensal and pathogenic intestinal bacteria, their interactions with the host intestine, their impact on intestinal and systemic host metabolism, how they shape the trajectory of childhood development, and novel approaches to the prevention and treatment of intestinal infection.

We use Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera, as a model intestinal pathogen, generate hypotheses in the genetically tractable model host Drosophila melanogaster, and then test these hypotheses in mammalian hosts.  Our focus is the development of strategies to amplify the beneficial effects of intestinal microbes and to prevent the deleterious effects.

The following projects are currently underway in the laboratory.

  • Control of host development and metabolism by intestinal bacteria.
  • Basic regulation of Vibrio cholerae biofilm formation, metabolism, and virulence.
  • Development of a biofilm matrix-based vaccine platform.
  • Discovery of novel compounds active against multi-drug resistant bacteria.

    The Sunderbans in the Bay of Bengal: A region where cholera is endemic