Dr. Lesser is an associate professor of medicine in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Harvard Medical School.
Research Summary: Many Gram-negative bacteria, including pathogens and endosymbionts, directly usurp eukaryotic host cell processes to promote their own survival and spread by injecting tens of proteins directly into host cells using complex secretion systems. The Lesser lab focuses on identifying the secreted substrates and determining their roles in pathogenesis, particularly of type 3 secretion systems, which are common to gastrointestinal pathogens. For these studies, they pioneered the development of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model system for studying mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis, and they developed a novel and powerful assay for studying protein-protein interactions in live cells, the Protein Interaction Platform assay. These studies have not only provided new insights into bacterial and host cell biology but have also identified new avenues for the development of novel antimicrobial agents.