New grant to decipher how microbes communicate
A recent National Institute of Health (NIH) grant for $1.9 million over five years will allow Mikael Elias, assistant professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics and a member of the BioTechnology Institute, to continue exploring how bacteria communicate with each other. The grant builds on recent discoveries in the Elias lab. Bacteria rely on a shared language to group up and form communities. Taking advantage of this, the lab recently modified an enzyme to break up this communication pathway. Rather than killing off unwanted bacteria, which is how antibiotics work, the enzyme prevents bacteria from grouping up and lessens their collective impact.