On July 1, Sabarathnam Balu, Ph.D., joined the UF Department of Oral Biology as research assistant scientist in the laboratory of Robert Burne, Ph.D., where he was working as a postdoctoral associate since March 2017.
Previously, Balu was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio from July 2015 to February 2017.
Balu earned his bachelor’s in biology and mathematics at the Anbanathapuram Vahaira Charties College in Mayiladuthurai, India in 2007 and his master’s (2009) and doctorate (2014) degrees in microbiology at Bharathidasan University in Tiruchirappalli, India.
His current research in Burne’s laboratory focuses on the genetic regulation and metabolism of oral Streptococcus mutans. The research includes analyzing the genetics, genomics and interactions with pathogenic bacteria of oral commensal and beneficial streptococci; dissecting the prioritization of carbohydrate metabolism; and utilizing microfluidics, single cell analysis and biofilm models to study bacterial gene expression.
Balu’s previous research focused on the development of novel agent for oral surface conditioning to control bacterial adhesion. He performed microbial caries model and artificial mouth model experiments to evaluate the effect of plaque/biofilm formation on tooth demineralization.
His professional training has covered multidisciplinary approaches including microbiology, microbial biofilm studies and cariology with research skills that include cariology techniques; microbiology and marine bioprospecting techniques; biosurfactants (microbial surface active compounds); bacterial biofilms studies; and antibiofilm studies.
In addition to focusing on research activities, Balu will work as a mentor with doctoral and post-doctoral students and other research trainees, and will be analyzing data and writing manuscripts.