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Dr. Kahne is interested in understanding the biogenesis of the cell envelope of Gram-negative bacteria, in particular peptidoglycan biosynthesis and outer membrane assembly. The assembly of this organellar membrane must be accomplished outside the cell in the absence of an obvious energy source. His research focuses on identifying and understanding the machinery necessary for proper assembly of this membrane barrier, as well as the mechanisms that lead to defects. Because the outer membrane creates an effective permeability barrier to most antibiotics, understanding how to interfere with its assembly could provide new targets for antibiotic discovery.