Our laboratory is located in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Boston Children’s Hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School. We explore transcriptional regulation of bacterial metabolism, the interactions of commensal and pathogenic microbes with the host intestine, and their impact on host intestinal innate immunity and metabolism.

We use intestinal pathogens and commensal microbes to generate hypotheses in the genetically tractable model host Drosophila melanogaster and then test these hypotheses in mammalian models.  Our focus is the development of strategies to manipulate bacterial metabolism, amplify the beneficial effects of intestinal microbes, and prevent the deleterious effects of pathogens.

The following projects are currently underway in the laboratory.

  • Co-regulation of Vibrio cholerae  metabolism and virulence.
  • The transcriptional response of the arthropod intestine to Vibrio cholerae high cell density quorum sensing.
  • Cell type-specific and regional regulation of intestinal innate immunity by commensals and pathogens in a Drosophila model.
  • Use of human enteroids to explore host and microbe factors that impact the intestinal innate immune response.

We aim to create a supportive, diverse, and inclusive environment in which laboratory members are empowered to pursue their personal, scientific, and career goals unhindered by bias and microaggressions. We are open about what we know and do not know because our primary goal is to advance knowledge.

The Watnick Lab, 9/21