Work in my lab is in the area of applied microbiology. There are projects in Environmental and Public Health microbiology, microbial ecology, antibiotic resistance, development of antimicrobial agents (drug discovery) and decontamination of surfaces. The goal is two fold viz: To understand the complex interactions and distribution of bacteria in the environment (land, water and air) to allow for risk assessments and protection of public health; and To apply cutting edge techniques in defining microbial communities especially in poorly characterized niches. The molecular fingerprint of these communities can serve as early predictors of environmental disturbance or restoration. Examples of projects include a) Microbiological quality of beach sand in Florida and health implications b) Characterization of marine bacterial community using DNA sequence analysis c) Decontamination protocols for endospore contaminated surfaces, d) Development of rapid detection methods for bacteria in the environment and Foods e) Tracking the sources of bacterial contamination using biochemical and whole genome restriction analysis etc. My current project is to determine the mechanism and scope of action of recently patented novel antimicrobial agents. Several of my former students have found careers as Quality Control Microbiologists in Beverage, Pharmaceutical and Biotech industries using skills acquired in my lab. Others go on to become Laboratory managers and Research and Development Scientists, or well-grounded school teachers. Students who work in my lab are involved in all aspects of the study – from planning to execution to data interpretation. They learn a plethora of traditional microbiology techniques, molecular biotechnology techniques as well as research ethics.