Principal Investigator

Michael A. Bertucci

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Michael graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology with B.S. in Chemical Biology before pursuing his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Under the mentorship of Dr. Michel R. Gagné, he investigated methods for derivatizing N-Acyl Homoserine Lactone (AHLs), key signaling molecules in gram-negative bacterial quorum sensing. He joined the chemistry department at Hartwick College as a Visiting Assistant Professor in 2014 before moving to Moravian University one year later.  In 2021, he accepted an offer to join the chemistry department at his current institution, Lafayette College.  He has taught courses in Organic Chemistry I & II, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Nursing Chemistry and Senior Seminar for Chemistry and Biochemistry Majors.  He is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award and was named a Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar in 2023.

Michael A. Bertucci’s Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Current Group Members

Allie Campanella

Senior Biochemistry Major

My research involves working with Streptococcus gordonii, which communicates through quorum sensing using the peptide CSP1. The goal is to find amino acid substitutions that are the best at inhibiting such communication.


Ryann Carlotz

Senior Biochemistry Major

My research focuses on characterizing a lamD knockout strain of Lactobacillus plantarum. These bacteria lack the LamD signaling peptide, which inhibits their ability to perform quorum sensing.


Xiaotian Gong

Senior Chemistry Major

My research focuses on finding an effective way to synthesize the cyclic QS peptide LamD (CVGIW) in Lactobacillus plantarum.  I am trying to cyclize the peptide using both using both off-resin and on-resin techniques.


Abby Skidmore

Senior Biology Major

My research is centered around developing a beta-glucuronidase assay for quorum sensing in Lactobacillus plantarum. This assay would allow us to measure the effects of synthetic peptides on quorum sensing levels.

Carter Brand

Junior Neuroscience Major

I am trying to develop an efficient way to synthesize LamD, the signaling peptide in Lactobacillus plantarum and use computational chemistry to study LamD binding.


Mallory Downs

Junior Neuroscience Major

My research focuses on the synthesis and purification of the competence-stimulating peptide (CSP) of Streptococcus gordonii. I am performing alanine substitutions in order to determine if this changes the quorum sensing ability of the bacteria.


Braeden Beal

Junior Chemistry Major

My research focuses on finding more efficient ways to synthesize the MeDbz linker and LamD derivatives to be utilized in the bacteria Lactobacillus plantarum, as well as studying the stability of these synthesized LamD derivatives.


Alex Yurtola

Sophomore Chemistry Major

My research focuses on developing and optimizing a method of measuring beta-glucuronidase activity in an assay to determine the effect of synthetic peptides on quorum sensing in Lactobacillus plantarum.

Former Group Members

Brianna Leopold ’23 – Pfizer

Becky Hartman ’23 – UMass Amherst

Jasmine Nguyen ’23 – UC Irvine

Elizabeth Jones ’23

Michael Gorgan ’22 – University of Connecticut

Jillian Kopchak ’22 – Avantor

Joelis Rodriquez-Santos ’22

Zachary Filliben ’22 – Florida Atlantic University

Fadi Hanna ’21 – Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine

Emilee Engler ’21 – DSM

Naomi Rieth ’21 – OraSure Technologies

Gabe Chlebove ’21 – OraSure Technologies

Liz Hutnick ’21 – NMS Labs

Alec Buttner ’21 – University of Chicago

Ashlyn Cantrel ’19 – University of Delaware

Jonathan Nadraws ’19 – University of Pennsylvania

Kylie Chichura ’19 – Syracuse University

Robert Hillman ’18 – Chemours

Erin Tiwold ’17 – GlaxoSmithKline

Jessica Lynch ’17 – University of Tennessee School of Veterinary Medicine

Jonathan Le ’17 – Temple University School of Dentistry

Daniel Schmucker ’16 – Trinity Consultants