I am interested in the role of spatial structure in microbial communities. I use a combination of bacterial genetics, confocal microscopy and computational methods to understand interactions between P. aeruginosa and S. aureus.
I am primarily interested in host-pathogen interactions. As an undergraduate at Colorado State University, I worked with Dr. Diane Ordway studying Mycobacterium tuberculosis in a biosafety level 3 laboratory. During my first year laboratory rotations I studied mouse mammary tumor virus in the Dudley lab, Ebola and adenoviruses in the Croyle lab and murine cytomegalovirus in the Upton lab. My current thesis work is to elucidate the genes that Pseudomonas aeruginosa requires to cause chronic wound infections in mice with a variety of predisposing conditions, such as diabetes. I am also working to elucidate the molecular mechanism underlying P. aeruginosa’s requirement for glutathione biosynthesis during chronic wound infections. After graduation, I plan to continue infectious disease research.
Bacteria produce many different chemicals which they use to communicate, attack, and grow within their environment. I am interested in teasing out the relationships between the chemicals produced and their specific effects using electrochemical methods. Currently I am using a Scanning Electrochemical Microscope (SECM) to study the development of bacterial biofilms for the purpose of understanding how bacteria cause disease. Specifically I am looking at the development of the oral microbiome and how chemical signaling molecules contribute to periodontitis.
Mengshi is interested in bacterial physiology and spatial dynamics of bacterial aggregates, especially Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA). She seeks quantitative ways to describe the biological phenomena under the context of bacterial infections. She is currently working on the dynamics of PA aggregates before and during antibiotic treatment.