Wright Lab Grant Funding

Funding Agency: NIH/NIAID
Grant Number: 1U01 AI176418-01
Project Dates: 08/2023 to 08/2026
Title: Connecting the universe of proteins to address annotation inequality in the microbial proteome
Genomes harbor an immense amount of untapped information that could provide valuable insights into the interactions and functions of genes within cells. This work will develop a network of coevolving genes spanning many different microorganisms and make it publicly accessible as an online tool for biomedical research.

Funding Agency: NIH/NIAID
Grant Number: 1R21 AI144769-01A1
Project Dates: 01/2020 to 12/2021
Title: Overcoming antibiotics of last resort: determining the role of compensatory mutations in promoting vancomycin resistance in Staphylococcus aureus
The rise of antimicrobial resistance has left clinicians with few options for the successful treatment of many microbial pathogens, which has resulted in an increasing reliance on antibiotics of last resort. In isolated cases, pathogens have acquired resistance to an antibiotic of last resort yet have not managed to spread among patients. This project investigates the genetic basis for why one such resistant pathogen, vancomycin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA), has never spread between patients, with the goal of developing a better understanding of the barriers that can prevent epidemics of antimicrobial resistance from emerging.

Funding Agency: NIH/NIAID
Grant Number: 1DP2 AI145058-01
Project Dates: 09/2018 to 06/2023
Title: Uncovering synergistic antibiotic cocktails with comparative genomics
The rapid evolution and spread of antimicrobial resistance among microbial pathogens has dire consequences for human health. To develop strategies for mitigating the rise of resistance, we will use comparative genomics to study the evolution of antibiotics in naturally antibiotic-producing microorganisms. Our work has many expected positive outcomes, including: 1) discovering new antibiotics for drug development, and 2) revealing strategies for combating the rise of resistance.

Funding Agency: EMSL (PNNL)
Grant Number: 60302
Project Dates: 10/2022 to 09/2024
Title: Illuminating emergent properties underlying complex carbon degradation within communities of soil microorganisms
Soil microorganisms play a key role in the global carbon cycle by degrading the complex carbon molecules comprising plant litter and cell detritus. This provides a critical ecosystem service by returning carbon to the atmosphere in the form of CO2. Carbon degradation is a complex process believed to require the contributions of multiple different soil microorganisms. Despite their importance, we still know relatively little about how soil microbial communities assemble on complex carbon sources. Here, we seek to identify the set of small molecules that govern community assembly and the collective degradation of complex carbon molecules.

Funding Agency: EMSL (PNNL)
Grant Number: 50808
Project Dates: 10/2019 to 12/2021
Title: Decrypting inter-cellular communication within the soil microbiome by eavesdropping on pairwise signaling between bacteria
The soil microbiome is composed of a dense network of interacting cells that play a pivotal role in nutrient cycling and plant growth. Decrypting how soil microorganisms communicate through a wide variety of small molecules is essential for understanding their functional roles and ecological dynamics. We have previously developed and characterized a 3D printed platform for eavesdropping on interactions between pairs of bacteria. Using advanced mass spectrometry resources at EMSL, we can apply this platform in high-throughput to infer the context-specific language of microbial communication for a large panel of soil bacteria. In particular, we seek to tease apart individual contributions to the immense signaling network within the soil microbiome. This will enable us to elucidate higher-order principles of inter-cellular communication, with the ultimate goals of manipulating the soil microbiome to improve nutrient management, identifying novel strategies in microbial competition, and controlling plant-microbe interactions in the rhizosphere.