There are several distinct research projects underway in my lab, though all involve bacteria, either as friends or enemies. In the bacteria-as-enemies category, one project seeks novel antibacterial compounds from natural sources as candidates for useful antibiotics. Another project is developing a new therapy for the skin disease acne, isolating and modifying bacteriophage (bacteria-specific viruses) which target and kill Propionibacterium acnes, the bacterial pathogen that causes severe acne lesions. A third project is developing kitchen-based protocols for decontaminating fresh produce (lettuce, sprouts) which is not cooked before consuming. Again, the proposed antibacterial agents are specific bacteriophage that eliminate pathogens sometimes found on fresh produce. A fourth project makes good use of bacteria, applying bacteria which catabolize (digest) gasoline as clean-up agents in gasoline-contaminated soils. The final project is attempting to develop a new animal model for studying interactions between a host and its gut microbes, based on planaria, These flatworms have a crude digestive system, but one analogous to that of higher animals.