Sam Houston State University
Department of Biological Sciences
My primary areas of research are in the fields of pathogenic microbiology, molecular biology, food safety, and more recently, environmental microbiology. Historically my research focused on understanding the distribution of enteric pathogens (mainly E. coli and Salmonella) and their virulence and antimicrobial resistance factors. I am primarily interested in plasmid mediated antimicrobial resistance and virulence of these bacteria. Other research projects in my lab have included host-pathogen interactions of Salmonella enterica and Caenorhabditis elegans, and bacterial examination of raw pet foods.
More recently, I have focused on environmental microbiology and biodiversity. Current research project utilize modern molecular techniquies to study the biodiversity of bacteria in a variety of ecosystems. Using metagenomic techniques, we are able to identify bacteria in their natural environment without the need to culture the microorganisms in the lab. Studies have indicated that up to 99% of microorganisms in an environment sample cannot be cultured by conventional means. These techniques are cheaper, quicker and more sensitive and conventional culture techniques allowing for more in-depth study of microorganisms and how they interact with their environment.