Gray Lab

Welcome to the Gray laboratory

We are part of the Department of Microbiology in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. The mission of our lab is twofold: 1) to make novel discoveries in bacterial physiology, regulation, and stress response, and 2) to train rigorous, creative, and collaborative microbiologists.

We use a combination of genetic, genomic, and biochemical techniques to study how bacteria sense and respond to their environments. We are particularly interested in the molecular biology of the symbiotic and probiotic bacteria that make up the healthy microbiome, and are working to identify new regulators, proteins, and pathways that may influence the interactions between bacteria and their human or animal hosts. Our current research has three primary tracks:

  1. Inorganic polyphosphate (polyP) is an evolutionarily ancient, poorly understood biopolymer required for virulence, motility, and stress response in many bacteria. We are interested in how the synthesis of polyP is regulated in response to environmental signals.
  2. The RclABCR proteins of E. coli and other pro-inflammatory enterobacteria are involved in the response of these bacteria to hypothiocyanite, an antimicrobial oxidant which they encounter during interactions with the innate immune system. We are exploring the mechanism by which these proteins function.
  3. In collaboration with Dr. Casey Weaver (UAB Department of Pathology), we are working to understand the role of the microbiome and probiotic bacteria in preventing neonatal sepsis.

For more information and for details on specific projects ongoing in the lab, see our Research page.

Dr. Gray's free course packet on Bacterial Genetics and Molecular Biology is available here.

The Gray lab is dedicated to diversity and inclusion, and we promote and recognize principles of fairness and equity in relation to, and across, intersections of race, age, color, disability, faith, religion, ancestry, national origin, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, social class, economic class, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, and all other identities represented among our diverse communities.

Lab News

February 20, 2023

Welcome to the latest Gray lab member, SciTech undergrad Adhvika Mahadevan!


January 31, 2023

Hot off the presses! Julia's review of the role of hypothiocyanite in host-microbe interactions is now online ahead of print at Molecular Microbiology.

January 14, 2023

Happy 2023 from the Gray Lab!

January 9, 2023

Welcome to new PhD student Avery Lieber, who will be joining us to work on bacterial HOSCN resistance!

December 27, 2022

The updated 2023 version of my free Bacterial Genetics and Molecular Biology course packet is now available.

October 17, 2022

Welcome to rotation student Zonaira Khalid, who will be joining us here in the Gray lab for the next couple of months!

Z Khalid

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UAB Department of Microbiology
654 Bevill Biomedical Research Building
1720 2nd Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35294

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