Our Goals

We seek to understand how bacterial pathogens cause human infectious disease by reprogramming natural host cell biological systems. In addition, we use bacterial toxins and effector proteins to probe fundamental cellular processes.


Our Projects

We study bacterial pathogens that use Type 3/4 Secretion Systems (T3/4SS) to inect "effector" proteins directly into host cells. Our goal is to identify effector substrates, enzymatic activities, and novel post-translational modifications. Conversely, we are interested in how human cells defend themselves against intracellular bacterial infection through the signaling and expression of immune modulatory genes.


Our Methods

We take a multidisciplinary approach that encompasses modern molecular, cellular, biochemical, and microscopy techniques to study host-pathogen interactions from single atoms to cell biological systems.


Our goal is to track the signaling dynamics of individual effectors and toxins in living cells, using a combination of fluorescent genetic reporters, microinjection of labeled bacterial proteins, and live cell imaging techniques. 
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About Us

The Alto Lab is primarily interested in mechanism by which microbial pathogens cause human infectious disease. 
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Meet the PI

Neal Alto, Ph.D.

Neal M. Alto, Ph.D.

Meet the lab

Group photo

Lab members