The Moreno lab focuses on the emergence and evolution of bacterial pathogens. Our major research interests include elucidating the molecular strategies that bacterial pathogens develop for host colonization, virulence regulation and dispersal from the host. Furthermore, we are interested in the connection that ecosystems and manmade environmental perturbations (e.g. climate change, pollution) have in their pathogenic potential and transmission.
Our research program focuses on several pathogenic members of the Vibrionaceae, a family of aquatic bacteria,as model systems. Our investigations have an emphasis on the intestinal pathogen Vibrio cholerae, which represents a paradigm of infectious disease agents, and Vibrio vulnificus, a poorly understood emergent zoonotic pathogen source of a fulminant septicemia.
From Bays to Bases
We are interested in understanding pathogenesis and host colonization from multiple perspectives. To this end, our investigations also include Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a foodborne pathogen that causes bloody diarrhea, or Vibrio coralliilyticus, a temperature dependent coral pathogen.
Our research approach strives to be holistic and multidisciplinary; what we call “From Bays to Bases”. It encompasses a mix of molecular biology, genomics, phylogenetics, pathogenesis, and ecology. We believe that by understanding pathogen evolution and ecology, we will ultimately gain the knowledge that will allow us to forecast the traits of emergent virulent strains, predict the sources of outbreaks, and to design reliable therapeutic treatments against bacterial threats.