Education and Post-Graduate Training
- Postdoctoral Fellowship: Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, VA (1998–2002) and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, Memphis, TN (1996–1998)
- Postdoctoral Fellowship: Department of Pathobiological Sciences, University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, Madison, WI (1994-1996)
- PhD: Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (1994)
- MS: Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (1987)
- AB: Honors: The College, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL (1984)
- Associate Professor: Department of Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M College of Dentistry, Dallas, TX (2019-present)
- Associate Professor: Department of Biological Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL (2008-2019)
- Assistant Professor: Department of Biological Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL (2002-2008)
There are several research foci in the Suh laboratory. First, we are interested in elucidating and understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in the survival of pathogenic bacteria in nature and the contribution of these mechanisms to aid these pathogens in their ability to cause human diseases.
Second, we are interested in developing peptide based biosensors for rapid detection of important bacterial pathogens. Our biosensors can detect pathogens in just minutes rather than hours or days of other approaches. Third, we are interested in genetic and metabolic engineering to develop bacterial cells into microbial factory for optimal production of value-added products.
Bacterial Stress response and pathogenesis
We want to elucidate and understand the relationship between bacterial stress response mechanisms and bacterial pathogenesis. As a model system, we are studying the stress response mechanisms and pathogenesis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an important opportunistic bacterial pathogen that is found almost ubiquitously in nature. P. aeruginosa is a highly adaptable pathogen that causes both acute and chronic infections with high mortality rates. Our ultimate goal is to elucidate the stress response mechanisms of this bacterium in order to develop new therapeutic strategies.
Development of biosensors for real-time detection of pathogens
As clearly demonstrated by the several anthrax attacks, frequent outbreaks of foodborne pathogens, and increase of nosocomial infections in the United States, it is imperative for “point of care” facilities to possess rapid and accurate pathogen detection systems to minimize the damage to human health. As a member of the Auburn University Detection and Food Safety (AUDFS) group, we have been involved in developing accurate and user-friendly biosensors for rapid (less than 15 minutes including sample preparation) and real-time detection of pathogens. Our biosensors are composed of phage-displayed oligopeptide probes for molecular recognition and magnetostrictive particles as sensor platforms. Specifically, my group has focused on improving the phage-display technology for biosensors and isolation and characterization of oligopeptide probes for pathogen capture. Our current goal is to convert our singleplex biosensors into a multiplex platform for simultaneous real-time detection of multiple important bacterial pathogens. We plan to adapt our biosensors for detection of oral pathogens that can be used at point of care facilities for real-time identification of infectious agents.
*This is a collaborative study with Dr. Bryan Chin, the Director of AUDFS and a professor of Materials Engineering at Auburn University.
Development of Pseudomonas aeruginosaas a microbial factory
Pseudomonas aeruginosa produces numerous "value-added" compounds including antifungal agents, antibiotics, biosurfactants, and biodegradable plastic. We are involved in metabolic and genetic engineering of the bacterium for optimal production of high-value molecules including the highly effective biosurfactant rhamnolipids. Through genetic and metabolic engineering, we have constructed a strain of P. aeruginosa produces 15-fold more rhamnolipids when grown on glycerol as a sole carbon source. Rhamnolipids are highly effective biosurfactants that have a wide industrial use including waste treatment, fungicide, and for improving degradation of oil. We are currently continuing our improvement of rhamnolipids production by P. aeruginosa.
Recent Grants (since 2015)
- USDA NIFA: 2016-2020.
- AUIGP: 2016-2018.
- AAES: 2015-2017