Research Expertise and Interest

bacterial interspecies interactions, specialized metabolism

Research Description

Matt Traxler received his BS and PhD in microbiology from the University of Oklahoma, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. His PhD studies used whole-genome transcriptomics and network analyses to understand stress responses in E. coli. His postdoctoral studies have included the use of NanoDESI and MALDI-TOF imaging mass spectrometry to examine chemical exchange during actinomycete interactions. His research aims include integrating metabolomic and transcriptomic paradigms with the ultimate goal of understanding the role of specialized metabolism in bacterial interactions and translating this knowledge into a platform for natural products discovery.

His research explores the chemical ecology of interactions between actinomycete bacteria. Collectively, actinomycetes are the single deepest source of medicinal natural products, including antibiotics, antifungals, and anticancer agents (Fig. 1). Interactions between actinomycetes involve a remarkably rich chemical repertoire and provide a new approach for discovering novel natural products. His research program will incorporate whole-genome transcriptomics and newly developed mass spectrometry techniques to examine the physiology of actinomycete interactions as they relate to natural product biosynthesis and translate these insights into a new platform for natural products discovery. 

In the News

How antibiotic-filled poop helps ‘bessbug’ beetles stay healthy

The lifestyle of the horned passalus beetle, commonly known as the bessbug or betsy beetle, might seem downright disgusting to the average human: Not only does this shiny black beetle eat its own poop, known as frass, but it uses its feces to line the walls of its living space and to help build protective chambers around its developing young. Gross as it may seem, a new study suggests that this beetle’s frass habits are actually part of a clever strategy for protecting the insect’s health — and could help inform human medicine, too.
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