- Bachelor of Science, Trinity University, 2008
- Doctor of Philosophy, The Scripps Research Institute, 2012
Research Interests: antibiotic resistance, stress-responsive signaling, chaperone-client protein-protein interactions
Teaching Interests: biochemistry, bioorganic chemistry, and general chemistry
Research in the Ryno lab utilizes techniques in molecular biology, microbiology, and biochemistry and will focus on exploring new methods to mitigate antibiotic resistance. A considerable amount of effort is being placed in the development and discovery of antibiotics that not only inhibit general bacterial viability but also target particular mechanisms of virulence such as toxin function, delivery and adhesion of bacteria. Despite the numerous advances in antibiotic development, the rapid evolution of bacterial resistance to different mechanisms of antibiotic treatment calls for a constant influx of bactericidal agents that work through novel mechanisms.
The Ryno lab will study the problem of antibiotic resistance from two separate angles.
Project 1: We will focus on the direct inhibition of the protein SurA, a protein found in the periplasmic space of Gram-negative bacteria. SurA acts as a gatekeeper between the interior of a bacterium and the external environment. It is responsible for the proper folding of secreted proteins and toxins as well as the overall maintenance of the cell membrane. Through the development of a fluorescence anisotropy-based assay, we will discover new types of small molecule antibiotics that specifically inhibit this chaperone and disrupt bacterial homeostasis.
Project 2: We will explore the connection between stress-responsive signaling pathways and antibiotic resistance in bacterial biofilms. Biofilms are a natural stage in the lifecycle of bacteria, and are particularly resistant to environmental insults. In Escherichia coli, there are several different stress-responsive signaling pathways that activate upon insult with different external stressors and initiate the transcription of certain subsets of genes. Studying the extent, composition and hardiness of biofilm formation by different stress-responsive transcription factors will allow us to identify and target specific transcriptional pathways that could sensitize biofilms to antibiotic treatment.