Research Group Pathogenesis of Bacterial Infections

Hospital- and community-acquired infections caused by drug-resistant and pathogenic bacteria represent a global public health threat. Our research group focuses on the pathogenesis of medically relevant bacterial pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). S. aureus causes skin and soft tissue infections with attack rates of 1-3% for the general population each year; this microbe is also a frequent cause of endocarditis and bacteremia. Primarily, our team studies S. aureus host-pathogen interaction and the pathology of staphylococcal infections which includes manipulation of host multicellular assemblies that together enable pathogen replication and dissemination of disease. We also focus on host adaptation and spread of other clinically relevant staphylococci such as multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis as well as Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, an emerging zoonotic pathogen of canine origin. Overall, our research is designed to gain a better understanding of how pathogenic staphylococci escape human immune cell responses. These discoveries are translated into the development of prophylactic agents and new anti-infective therapeutics to combat bacterial diseases.