Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a bacterial pathogen that causes several important chronic infections. Because of obvious limitations on infectious disease research in human subjects, P. aeruginosa researchers rely on a variety of in vitro and animal models. No laboratory model can perfectly mimic a human infection, but the strengths and limitations of each model are often unclear. As a result, researchers rely on limited data, or simply intuition, to choose among model systems. Here, I will discuss development of a quantitative framework for choosing model systems using both P. aeruginosa gene expression and imaging data from human infections. In addition, I will discuss development of computational approaches for improving model systems by inferring environmental properties of human chronic infections from RNA-seq data. The ultimate goal is to provide a grounded framework for model choice as well as identify key differences between the physiology of P. aeruginosa when growing in infection models and in the human infections they represent.
About Dr. Whiteley
Dr. Whiteley received his B.S. degree in Zoology in 1995 from the University of Texas at Austin and his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Iowa in 2001. His doctoral research involved quorum sensing and biofilm formation in the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Following a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Stanford University in 2002, Dr. Whiteley accepted a position as an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma/Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. In 2006, Dr. Whiteley moved to the University of Texas at Austin where he was promoted to Professor of Molecular Biosciences and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease. In 2017, he accepted the Bennie H. & Nelson D. Abell Chair and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Georgia Institute of Technology. He currently serves as Co-Director of the Emory-Children’s CF Center ([email protected]). He has received numerous awards including the Merck Irving S. Sigal Memorial Award for national research excellence, the Burroughs Wellcome Investigators in Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease award, recognition as a Kavli fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, the Dean’s teaching excellence award at UT-Austin, and election to the American Academy of Microbiology.