My primary goal in the Hatfull Lab is to find and characterize bacteriophages that infect Gordonia terrae, an Actinomycetale that is closely related to Mycobacterium, the main focus of study in the lab. Investigating these alternative hosts and the phages that infect them is important because it widens the pool of genes that are frequently transferred horizontally between bacteria and phages. In so doing, we can gain valuable insight not only on Gordonia terrae and its phages, but potentially Mycobacterium tuberculosis and other Actinomycetales. I am currently analyzing the genomes of the phages I found and characterized over the summer by comparing them to each other, as well as phages that infect other members of the order Actinomycetales. This approach, in conjunction with host range and lysogeny experiments, can uncover evolutionary relationships that result from the horizontal gene transfer performed by bacteria and viruses.
Matthew 'Monty' Montgomery graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and is currently a Research Assistant in the Hatfull Lab. He plans to attend graduate school to earn a PhD in microbiology.
Monty can be contacted at:
Department of Biological Sciences
4249 5th Avenue
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
(412) 624 6976