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ISI-METRIC Joint Seminar – Neha Garg (Georgia Institute of Technology)
February 28 | 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
About the Speaker:
Neha Garg is an Assistant Professor at Georgia Tech broadly interested in understanding how small molecules shape microbial composition in complex environments. Garg obtained her Ph.D. in 2013 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with Professors Wilfred A. van der Donk and Satish K. Nair. Neha’s dissertation work in Illinois was recognized by the Anne A Johnson work award and the Catherine Connor Outstanding Dissertation in Biotechnology award. She then worked with Professor Pieter C. Dorrestein as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of California, San Diego where she developed metabolomics methods to visualize microbial communities. Garg was awarded NSF CAREER Award and Sandia’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development award to develop –omics methods for investigating the function and regulation of microbially-produced natural products. She has received several teaching awards at Georgia Tech including Center for Teaching and Learning Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award and Vasser Woolley Award for Excellence in Instruction. The Garg laboratory applies interdisciplinary approaches in microbiology, microscopy, mass spectrometry, and genomics to unveil the role of microbial, host, and chemical environments in production of small molecule natural products.
More on the Garg Lab can be found here.
About the Seminar:
Mapping microbial responses to biological and chemical environments using omics
Chemical crosstalk is universal to all life. This crosstalk is mediated by a large diversity of molecules including small molecules, metal ions, polysaccharides, nucleic acids, and proteins. Inter– and intraspecies communication using small molecules, referred to as natural products, allows microbes to sense quorum, form biofilms, evade attack, and respond to stress. Chemical crosstalk is circumstantial i.e. niche-specific, and essential to thrive. The Garg laboratory seeks to develop and apply mass spectrometry-based methods to 1) discover the role of chemical and biological environment in the regulation of crosstalk underlying microbe-drug, microbe-microbe, and microbe-host interactions, and to
2) discover small molecule natural products that fine-tune these interactions. Chemical discoveries are supported by the genetic manipulation of organisms, phenotypic assays, and by manipulation of the biological and chemical growth environments. This seminar will highlight recent progress in three research directions: 1) chemical interactions between human pathogens and clinically administered antibiotics, 2) the role of quorum sensing, bacterial pigmentation, and infection-relevant environment in the regulation of the production of microbial natural products, and 3) the description of natural product diversity as a guide to develop probiotics aimed at improving resilience of marine corals to secondary