Biological and experimental focuses for NSF
There will be two focuses research wise for my NSF application. My first focus is studying DksA, a global transcription factor that has also been shown to assist in preventing transcription replication conflict by preventing stalling of RnaP(RNA Polymerase). This research is being performed using E.coli as a model organism. If you are interested in knowing more about DksA http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2919171/ is a good start.
The second focus of my NSF grant application will be on bacterial persisters that occur due to antibiotic tolerance. The project would look to model the bet hedging that is occurring in bacteria where perfectly healthy bacteria will enter a dormant persister state to deal with unexpected environmental stresses. The phenomena of these bacteria is that they are genetically identical with two distinct phenotypes. These persisters can occur during exponential growth when nutrients are plentiful.
A hypothesis can be made that producing these dormant cells is beneficial to the bacteria as a species as a response to unpredictable environmental changes. The concept of bet hedging explains this observed phenotype in bacteria where the cells will have more variance in the population instead of a larger population. I will be looking to make a model of bacterial bistability and bet hedging for this evosysbio course to include in my NSF application.
For those that plan on working on this project Here are three good papers to get a better understanding on bacterial bistability and bet hedging. I can try and answer your questions about these papers on Thursday.