I obtained a B.S. degree in chemistry in the Dominican Republic. I then trained in synthetic organic chemistry and bioorganic chemistry with professor George Gokel at Washington University Medical School. My interest in applying chemical techniques to biological problems got me to train in enzymology as a postdoctoral scholar with professor Stephen Benkovic at Penn State University. Since then I worked as an assistant professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and as an associate professor at UNLV. Although my training is in bioorganic chemistry and enzymology, I am continuously entering new fields as needed for my research. My laboratory has successfully merged organic chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, and more recently, animal model of disease. By applying quantitative approaches to microbiological problems, we developed new techniques for evaluating mechanisms of Bacillus and Clostridium spore germination. We also used chemical probes to understand the binding sites of Ger receptors in spores. We have been working with bacterial spores for six years and have produced 12 papers in the area. The eclectic mixture of techniques used in the laboratory will be crucial to complete this project. It will allow us to successfully move from synthesis of bile salt analogs to screening for anti-germination compounds in vitro, to determining efficacy, stability, distribution, and toxicity of anti-germination compounds in an animal model of CDI.
Bioorganic Chemistry, Enzymology, Bacterial Spore Germination, Bioterrorism