My research interests are in understanding how pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria are able to use virulence factors found on their surface to mediate infection. These virulence factors are found in the outer membrane and belong to a class of surface proteins commonly referred to as outer membrane proteins (OMPs). In particular, my lab will investigate the multi-component complex called the BAM complex, which is responsible for the biogenesis of all OMPs, in hopes of understanding how it is able to fold and insert OMPs into the outer membrane. We will use a combination of techniques to accomplish this including X-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, crosslinking, and various functional assays. Our ultimate goal is to use the information from the structural and functional characterization as a starting point for drug discovery and development targeting the BAM complex in a species specific manner.