Currently, my major research interest is pathogenesis of Yersinia pestis, the etiological agent of plague. Although plague is not a public heath problem in most parts of the world, its potential for contagion, the lack of an effective vaccine, and the recent emergence of multiple antibiotic resistance strains place this organism squarely at the top of the United States' select agent list as a potential candidate for bioterrorism use. The long-term goal of my research is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that underlie the nature of the acute bacterial infectious process caused by Y. pestis. The identification of the environmental signals that the bacteria encounter in the host cells and the potential virulence genes regulated by those signals will lead to better understanding of the process of cross-talk between pathogen and its host during the infection. The unraveling of Y. pestis virulence network will allow us to determine novel targets for therapeutics beyond antibiotics, generation of new vaccines and for development of robust diagnostic assays.