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Rosemary J. Redfield

Professor

Zoology

Faculty of Science

Natural competence, the ability of many bacteria to take up DNA from their surroundings, raises a number of important questions: How are inflexible and highly charged DNA molecules transported across membranes? What environmental or physiological signals trigger this ability? Is the DNA used primarily as a genetic or a nutritional resource? Our broad goal is to answer these questions for Haemophilus influenzae, an important human pathogen and the model system for studies of DNA uptake in the gamma-proteobacteria. The questions are interrelated - consideration of biological function guides investigation of mechanism and regulation, and understanding the mechanism and regulation helps us understand why cells take up DNA.