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Bonnie Bassler Chair, Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University

Biography

Bonnie Bassler is Squibb Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She has been called the "Bacteria Whisperer.” Her research focuses on the molecular mechanisms that bacteria use for intercellular communication. She seeks to understand how bacteria detect multiple environmental cues, and how the integration and processing of this information results in the precise regulation of gene expression. Bassler has discovered "quorum sensing" or how bacteria talk to each other to attack a host, triggering disease. The implications of this discovery for medical science are significant. The discovery, for which she won a MacArthur "Genius" grant, shows how cell populations evade immune systems and forge defenses called biofilms. Her findings offer hope to researchers seeking new weapons against drug-resistant superbugs. In 2015 Dr. Bassler delivered a set of talks for the Della Pietra Lecture Series at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook University.

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