Robert Osuna


  • Robert Osuna

    BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES

    Dr. Osuna’s laboratory focuses on the regulation of gene expression in bacteria in response to changes in the nutritional environment. The studies are centered on Escherichia coli and several other enteric bacteria, such as Salmonella enterica and Klebsiella pneumoniae. A focus is on understanding the mechanisms of control of expression of DksA, a conserved RNA polymerase-binding protein that regulates transcription initiation at selected promoters and whose regulatory function is often intensified in the presence of the stress and starvation alarmone ppGpp. His group makes use of genetic, molecular, and biochemical approaches to identify and characterize complex mechanisms of dksA control at the levels of transcription, translation, and post-translation in response to various environmental signals. The roles of newly identified regulatory proteins and RNA involved in dksA control are currently under investigation. This work will help elucidate how bacteria control DksA activity in connection with specific environmental cues. His findings will enhance our understanding of bacterial survival under conditions of stress, including stress endured by pathogenic bacteria that rely on DksA for virulence.