The ability of bacterial pathogens to cause disease in humans is determined by the biochemical capacity encoded within their genomes. An understanding of bacterial pathogenesis is thus greatly informed by knowledge of how the genes that constitute a genome execute their functions at a biochemical level.
The Chicago Center for Functional Annotation (CCFA), is an accomplished group of scientists who are defining gene function on multiple scales, using a multi-disciplinary set of cellular, genetic, molecular, and biochemical approaches. The primary goal of the CCFA is to define the biochemical and cellular functions of uncharacterized genes in the NIAID priority pathogens, Yersinia pestis and Brucella abortus. These bacteria have had a profound effect on global health both historically and currently. Our research program is 1) yielding important data on the function of uncharacterized genes in priority pathogens, 2) defining the role of numerous uncharacterized genes in processes tied to bacterial pathogenesis, and 3) producing useful biological and biochemical reagents for the pathogen research community.