Chemistry
Megan  Bolitho

Megan Bolitho

Assistant Professor

Megan (Pomianek) Bolitho graduated summa cum laude from Loyola College in Maryland in 2004 with an interdisciplinary degree in chemistry and biology. Her academic interests at the intersection of these two disciplines led her to join the lab of Prof. Martin Semmelhack at Princeton University for graduate studies. Here she pursued research projects focused on quorum sensing, a process through which bacteria communicate with one another using small organic molecules called autoinducers.

In the Semmelhack lab, Megan was responsible for designing and synthesizing small molecules to probe quorum sensing systems. Her work - together with close collaborators in molecular biology - led to the identification of a novel autoinducer in the pathogenic bacterium Vibrio cholerae and the first demonstration that quorum sensing circuits may be viable targets for a novel type of anti-microbial agents.1 Megan's graduate research was recognized and supported by fellowships from the American Chemical Society's Division of Medicinal Chemistry (2006), the Horst Witzel Prize from Cephalon Corporation (2007), and prizes awarded by Wyeth Research (2007) and Elsevier (2008). After receiving her PhD degree in early 2009, Megan switched from working on the chemical to the biological side of quorum sensing by joining the lab of collaborator Bonnie Bassler, where she contributed to an understanding of the dimerization of a quorum sensing receptor protein.

At USF, Megan's research interests build on her background in quorum sensing. Her lab uses the techniques of organic synthesis, biochemistry, and molecular biology to develop inhibitors of quorum sensing in bacterial pathogens and means of evaluating them.

Education

Ph.D., Princeton University