Michael Laub wants to understand the molecular mechanisms and evolution of regulatory pathways used by cells to respond to changes in their environment. Working in bacteria, Laub and his team seek to understand the functions and evolution of conserved signaling proteins. They aim to deepen basic understanding of cell function and evolution and to provide insights into the virulence of pathogenic bacteria. The team is also investigating toxin-antitoxin systems that help bacteria ward off infection by bacteriophage – major viral predators of bacteria. Understanding this key component of bacterial immunity may inform efforts to use phage in treating bacterial infections.