The focus of Dr. McDonough's laboratory is gene regulation in the context of bacterial pathogenesis, or the means by which bacteria cause disease. The team is primarily interested in two well-known pathogens: Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes TB, and Yersinia pestis, the etiologic agent of bubonic and pneumonic plague. The lab uses a variety of techniques in their studies with both pathogens, ranging from molecular genetics and biochemistry to bioinformatics, proteomics and fluorescence microscopy.
Due to the recent technological advances in genomic data acquisition, bioinformatics has become a crucial element of genomics. The main task of bioinformatics is to develop computational tools capable of dealing with diverse types of genomic data, filtering out noise, and finding reliable patterns associated with biological properties of interest. Our laboratory is developing bioinformatics methods, stand-alone and web-based software for the analysis of various types of genomic data and applying these methods to genome research. We do this by utilizing a variety of methods from statistics, information theory, classification/pattern recognition, and data mining.