The diversity of bacterial cell walls
Present: Associate Professor at the Department of Molecular Biology, Umeå University
Past: MIMS Group Leader (2013-2019)
Felipe Cava: MIMS group leader and Wallenberg Academy Fellow at Umeå University, two of the most prestigious long-term programme for young researchers in Sweden.
My lab in Umeå University/MIMS-UCMR aims at deciphering new knowledge on one of the major “Achilles heels” of bacteria - their cell wall – both to provide answers to scientific fundamental questions and to improve our options to combat long-standing and emerging infectious diseases. We use an arsenal of advanced analytical technologies and cell imaging tools (optical, fluorescence and correlative SEM-FL microscopy, MATLAB and ImageJ based image analysis), combined with genetics and next generation sequencing technologies (including RNA-seq, Tn-seq), biochemistry, bioinformatics (MATLAB and R based-chemometrics) and molecular biology to study how bacteria regulate their cell wall to adapt to (and infect) the host in some of the most relevant bacterial models.
To approach this, we have launched an integrative research program to uncover and exploit the unnoticed variability of the bacterial cell wall. This investigation is imperative for a realistic understanding of cell wall biology in nature, in particular its role in environmental adaptation and signalling. Moreover, this research might lead to the discovery of new metabolic and regulatory pathways with great potential in the development of new species-specific antimicrobials therapies.
This is the first time that a project of such magnitude has been actually launched in the cell wall research field, and therefore has generated immediate collaborative networks amongst fairly unconnected disciplines in life sciences, both in academia and in the public health field.
We are constantly seeking highly motivated students and postdocs interested in:
- Bacterial cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics
- infection biology
- systems biology and bioinformatics
- development of novel antimicrobial therapies
- Next generation sequencing technologies
The Wallenberg Academy Fellows programme is a career programme with long-term funding for most promising young researchers connected with a mentor programme.
More information about the Wallenberg Academy Fellows programme here.
Photo credit: Elin Berge and Mattias Petterson.