Ron Leonard Dy, PhD
Microbes are highly-adaptive organisms and are essential to human life. They play pivotal roles in the ecosystems such as contributing to the natural cycling of carbon, some are exploited in food productions, and some form mutualistic relationships with our body to modulate our immune system.
Since the discovery of DNA as the genetic blueprint of life , the field of molecular biology has grown exponentially giving rise to tools and innovations that enabled rapid sequencing of genetic material and precise editing of nucleic acids.
Thus, in SYNMICRO, our goal is to gain insight into the molecular systems of microbial life in order for us to have the knowledge and capacity to reengineer these systems for vast biotechnological applications.
Prokaryotic Immune Systems
Bacteriophages are considered to be the most abundant biological entities in the planet and outnumber bacteria 10 to 1. To survive phage predation, bacteria have evolved an arsenal of anti-viral systems to combat continued viral infection such as CRISPR-Cas systems and prokaryotic Argonaute. We employ an interdisciplinary approach using genomics, microbiology and molecular biology to elucidate the physiological function and molecular mechanism of these anti-phage systems. Furthermore, we are interested to determine how these anti-phage systems have shaped the genomes of bacteria in the course of time.