Javier Lopez Garrido
Dissecting the role of metabolism in cellular differentiation
Our lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms and evolution of cellular differentiation. We use for our model system bacterial sporulation, an experimentally tractable cellular differentiation pathway that leads to the formation of resilient spores. Like other cellular differentiation pathways, sporulation relies on the activation of different genetic programs in cells that are otherwise genetically identical, leading to the expression of specific structural genes that contribute to the formation of the spore. Although the functions of many sporulation-specific structural genes are relatively well understood, little is known about how the metabolic processes that sustain the cell's basic physiology contribute to spore formation.
In this project, we aim to systematically study the role of metabolism in sporulation, using a combination of genetics, cutting-edge microscopy, and chemical biology. The project will be conducted using Bacillus subtilis, a model bacterium that provides a wonderful opportunity to learn bacterial genetics, cell biology, and physiology.
We are looking for a motivated student who is eager to develop and implement creative approaches to address complex scientific questions.
For more information, please check the following publications: Riley et al. Science Advances (2021) (PMID: 33523946), Riley et al. Molecular Microbiology (2018) (PMID: 29363854), and Riley et al. Microbial Cell (2021) (PMID: 33490228)