Plant and Microbial Biology Seminar: Kustu Lecture: Bacterial body building: mechanisms and consequences of Helicobacter pylori morphology

Seminar | February 5 | 12-1 p.m. | 101 Barker Hall

 Nina Salama, Director, Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) Graduate Program, Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center

 Department of Plant and Microbial Biology

Dr. Nina Salama studies Helicobacter pylori, a stomach bacterium that infects half the world’s population and is associated with ulcers and gastric cancer — the third leading cancer killer worldwide. Her team found that H. pylori’s unique corkscrew shape allows the bug to colonize the stomach by burrowing into the mucus lining where it is protected from the acidic environment. They found a set of key proteins responsible for the bacterium’s twisty form. H. pylori that lack these proteins cannot set up shop in the stomach, making these proteins possible new drug targets to prevent infection. Dr. Salama is trying to understand why only some people infected with H. pylori develop stomach cancer, and how genetic variations in the bacterium affect human disease and transmission. She also works to understand how a person’s immune response to the bug influences the course of their infection.