Prof. Dirk-Jan Scheffers is a microbiologist (Ph.D. in 2001) with training in fluorescence microscopy and biochemistry. The key question in his work is: how do bacteria define and propagate their shape? Answers to this question are sought by studying the biochemistry of the bacterial cell division process, and by studying the mechanisms that regulate bacterial cell wall (peptidoglycan) synthesis. Using genetics, microscopy and biochemistry, Scheffers has made important contributions to the understanding of the essential division protein FtsZ - and frequently collaborates with other groups that require experience with FtsZ. Scheffers has also made contributions to the localization of Penicillin-Binding Proteins (PBP) that are key players in the peptidoglycan synthesis process. Scheffers ' collection of GFP-fusions to PBPs has been used by B. subtilis labs worldwide. The main research areas include: 1)Peptidoglycan chemistry: elucidating local differences in the structure of peptidoglycan; 2)Positioning of cell wall synthesis proteins and their relation with membrane structure; 3)Characterization of novel antibacterials to combat the Gram-negative plant pathogen Xanthomonas citri.
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