Cellular processes responsible for life as we know it are dependent on metal atoms. Research in the Colbert Laboratory focuses on the molecular mechanisms of metal trafficking. Specifically, how do bacteria import and utilize iron in key cellular processes. Understanding these molecular mechanisms will further our knowledge of bacterial survival not only in the wild, but also during pathogenesis. We use a combination of structural (X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy) and biochemical techniques (protein chromatography, mutagenesis, spectroscopy, etc.) to address basic questions concerning the mechanisms by which proteins facilitate and regulate the import and utilization of iron in cells. This fundamental information will provide key information in designing not only novel therapeutics toward antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, but will also underlie our basic understanding of human diseases involved in erroneous metal trafficking.
Ongoing research projects, and our publications relevant to each project, are described below. This research is primarily funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, as indicated by the grants listed below.
Grants, Contracts and Awards