Our Research Tribe; Summer 2017

Welcome to our lab homepage at the College of William & Mary. Browse around and learn a
         little bit about who we are and what we are accomplishing. We hope you enjoy!

Current Research:

Our research foci are each centered on the examination of the mechanisms by which bacterial pathogens cause disease.  The experimental model system we utilize most extensively in our laboratory is the bacterium Helicobacter pylori.  This human gastric pathogen infects the stomachs of nearly 50% of the world's population ( i.e. 3 BILLION people!!!).  This bacterium is the etiologic agent of gastric and duodenal ulcers, and infection with this bacterium is a very strong predisposing factor for the development of gastric cancers.
       One area of intense study in the lab are the mechanisms of how H. pylori senses its environment and alters its gene expression to respond to changing conditions.  Our lab uses mutant strains of H. pylori which have been "blinded" to features of their environment by destroying individual genes responsible for the sensory process.  We have identified several genes whose responses are altered in these mutants and students in the lab are currently examining the means of transcriptional regulation being used in these fascinating sensory and response networks.
      Another aspect of H. pylori pathogenesis that is a major focus of the lab and that is the evolution of the H. pylori chromosome.  More than 100 strains of this bacterium have had their chromosomes sequenced in total and there are striking differences between them.  Work in our lab is aimed at an examination of how H. pylori became a pathogenic bacterium rather than remaining a harmless commensal resident of the human gastrointestinal tract as hundreds of other bacterial species have done. 

Mark H. Forsyth Ph.D.    

Associate Professor of Biology 

Office - Room ISC 3050 

Lab - Room ISC 3066           

Telephone - Office (757) 221-2489

Lab - (757) 221-7541

Anna Kenan. Kexin Fan, Neeraja Aravindan, Abbigail Menge, Jiajia Chen, June Kim, Maran Ilanchezhian, Anwar Mendez, Ariel Eclipse, Beau Hawkins (Maybe we won’t bother with a group photo; this image captures the group’s persona quite well I think!)