The marine bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus, prevalent along the sea coast of Chile, is a leading cause of gastroenteritis linked to the consumption of contaminated seafood worldwide. In Dr. Waldor's lab, we are studying the molecular components and disease-causing properties of the pathogen's second Type III secretion system (T3SS2), a mechanism the bacterium uses to deliver small virulence proteins into eukaryotic cells in order to modulate host cellular functions and promote infection. The goal of this project is to understand how Vibrio parahaemolyticus acts at the molecular level to infect the gastrointestinal tract in humans and cause disease. Combining sequence analyses, genetics, molecular biology, microscopy, and animal infection studies I aim to pinpoint components of T3SS2's secretion machinery and to classify the roles of the proteins it delivers into host cells. This work would advance the understanding of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection and move clinicians closer to strategies to prevent and treat gastroenteritis.