WHAT WE DO
FIRE Bacterial pathogenesis aims to increase understanding of how a bacterial pathogen causes infections in humans. We will study genes that have been previously indicated to be important for the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosato cause catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI).
WHY IT MATTERS
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a frequent cause of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) in the US. HAIs are an immense burden on the US healthcare system: in 2009, there was an estimated 1.7 million reported HAIs with an estimated direct medical costs of 28 to 45 billion dollars annually.
Additionally, it is becoming increasingly difficult to treat HAIs due to the inability to completely eradicate the bacteria from healthcare facilities as well as the emergence of new bacterial strains that are resistant to multiple types of antibiotics. Patients who receive indwelling medical devices such as catheters or ventilators have an enhanced risk of developing HAIs as bacteria can contaminate these medical devices and grow to form a bacterial community or biofilm that is recalcitrant to antibiotic therapy. Bacterial cells can then disperse from this biofilm and disseminate inside the host leading to chronic bacterial infection followed by sepsis. Currently, there is limited understanding on how bacteria causes chronic infections in animal hosts which in turn impedes the development of much needed effective treatments for chronic HAIs.
WHAT YOU LEARN
How to use the scientific method to ask questions and solve problems; Microbiology; Bioinformatics tools, PCR; molecular cloning, aseptic technique, micropipetting and CRISPR-based gene silencing.