Albert Siryaporn

Picture of Albert Siryaporn
Associate Professor, Physics & Astronomy
School of Physical Sciences
Associate Professor, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
School of Biological Sciences
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Physics
Phone: (949) 444-2201
University of California, Irvine
210C Rowland Hall
Mail Code: 4575
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Biological physics, Biofilms, Antibiotic Resistance, Antimicrobial Drug Development, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, bacterial mechanosensation, virulence regulation, pathogenesis, mechano-genetics, PilY1, microfluidics
Academic Distinctions
2015 - NIH K22 Career Transition Award
2012 - NIH F32 Fellowship
Research Abstract
My lab explores how mechanical forces regulate bacterial responses using an approach that combines techniques from biophysics, molecular biology, genetics, fluid mechanics, and computational modeling. The fundamental questions that we explore are: 1. What is the effect of mechanical forces on bacterial physiology, 2. What signaling mechanisms do bacteria use to detect and transduce mechanical stimuli, and 3. How do mechanical forces affect population-level behaviors such as biofilm development and pathogenesis?

Bacteria encounter a variety of mechanical forces during infection and in natural environments including shear stress, tension, and compression forces. However, the role of these forces in pathogenesis and their effects on cell physiology are not understood. We have discovered that attachment to surfaces activates virulence in the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a broad range opportunistic pathogen, and have identified PilY1 as a putative mechano-sensitive protein that is required for virulence activation. Our work suggests that bacteria detect their hosts (and know when to infect) based on detection of a rigid surface and on the pattern of shear stress. In addition, bacteria appear to detect different types of mechanical forces such as shear stress using distinct mechano-transduction systems. We are detailing these mechanisms of mechano-sensation in bacteria, understanding how these pathways regulate pathogenesis and other behaviors at the single-cell and population scales, and identifying the mechanical conditions that stimulate bacterial infection. Understanding the mechano-responses of P. aeruginosa will enable us to control bacterial populations, changing the bias in polymicrobial populations and microbiomes against pathogens and in favor of commensals by manipulating mechanics of the environment.
Professional Societies
American Society of Microbiology
Graduate Programs
Cellular and Molecular Biosciences
Mathematical and Computational Biology
Physics and Astronomy
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