Jack is investigating the interactions between circadian clocks in bacteria and plants.
Circadian rhythms are biological cycles with a period of roughly one day (~24h), which align biological processes with the daily cycle of day and night. The internal circadian clocks that regulate such rhythms occur across all kingdoms of life, including both photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic bacteria. They also can have important roles in governing interactions between different organisms.
Jack’s current aim is to understand the roles and importance of the interaction between plant and bacterial circadian rhythms in coordinating their daily biological activities. This interaction provides an experimental model to investigate general principles governing circadian programs in mutualistic systems. This may also have downstream applications, in environmentally-friendly crop productivity enhancement, the protection of crops from pathogens, and more broadly in any system involving interactions between bacteria and their hosts.
Jack is a molecular microbiologist by training, with a keen interest in bacterial molecular biology, ecology and evolution. His previous work has focused on the role of bacterial cell wall recycling in pathogenic bacteria-host interactions and phage infection of bacteria under nutrient-limiting conditions.