John’s research centres on the evolution of microbial pathogens, and the genetic determinants underlying the interactions between pathogen and host. He focus on the bacterium, Pantoea, a close relative of E. coli and Salmonella, which is not only prevalent as a free-living microbe in most environments, but also colonizes plants, insects, and humans. As one of only a handful of laboratories in the world focusing on this microbe, John’s group has been uniquely positioned to explore its host-associating capabilities using a combination of genetics, genomics, molecular microbiology, and phylogenetics. Specifically, his research group is attempting to identify disease genes and host-association factors, and the natural reservoirs of microbes in the general environment. Recently, they have also moved toward natural product discovery for the identification of potentially novel antimicrobial compounds for therapeutic development. The infrastructure available within IECS, including mass spectrometry, confocal microscopy, and next-gen sequencer are essential to the activities of John’s research group.