Our laboratory is located in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Boston Children’s Hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School. We explore commensal and pathogenic intestinal bacteria, their interactions with the host intestine, their impact on intestinal innate immunity and metabolism, how they shape the trajectory of childhood development.

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 amplify the beneficial effects of intestinal microbes and to prevent the deleterious effects.

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.
  • The impact of intestinal microbiota on the host immunoendocrine axis using Drosophila and enteroid models.
  • Use of human enteroids to understand how the intestinal environment impacts the virulence of intestinal pathogens
  • Development of a biofilm matrix-based vaccine platform.

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.

The Watnick Lab with visitors Josh and Oakley