Megan McEvoy

The McEvoy laboratory is focused on developing an understanding of how organisms handle metal ions. Organisms can face highly varying levels of metal ions through their environment or diet, and metal ion concentrations in cells must be carefully regulated. Some metal cations, such as copper, cobalt, and nickel, are essential in trace amounts, though toxic at higher concentrations. Other metal ions, such as silver and mercury, do not fulfill any biological requirements but instead can interfere with proper cellular function even at relatively low concentrations. We are particularly interested in understanding how bacteria maintain metal ion homeostasis as metal ions can serve as broad spectrum biocides. The emergence of drug-resistant bacteria through the overuse of antibiotics has brought a newfound interest in understanding how metal ions function as biocides and how bacteria respond when challenged with high metal ion concentrations as these may ultimately lead to new methods for combating disease. We are applying multidisciplinary approaches to understand a variety of interests including 1) how metal ions are discriminated 2) structural changes controlling protein function and 3) organismal responses to metal ions.

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