Research Statement

Marine Invertebrate Symbioses:
Well known for in-depth studies of marine invertebrate symbioses, particularly the association between the bryozoan Bugula neritina and its symbiont Endobugula sertula, which produces the anticancer bryostatins to protect the bryozoan’s offspring from predation. Due in large part to our work, this is now the best-understood example of a marine chemical defense symbiosis. More recently, demonstrated that shipworm symbionts, in addition to their known nutritional role, also contribute bioactive secondary metabolites to the association.

Iron acquisition by marine bacteria:
Long term collaboration with Alison Butler of UC Santa Barbara on siderophores, molecules used in iron binding and transport, in marine bacteria. Established the prevalence of a new class of amphiphilic siderophores typical in marine bacteria.