Jaime Fuentes

Mentor: Martens
Microbiology & Immunology

Areas of Interest

Bacterial viruses (phages) were some of the earliest genetic models and with recent developments in the field of human gut microbiome research, has transformed our understanding of the microbiology that exists within each of us. Within the competitive human gut environment numerous challenges exist for commensal species including predation by numerous families of bacteriophage, which are among the most prevalent biological entities within the gut and play roles in modulating host immune responses. My research focus is at the interface of these two disciplines to discover how common human gut bacteria have evolved to persist despite constant pressure by phage. Specifically, the role of phase variable surface protein expression as a mechanism for phage evasion in the human gut symbiont Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron.